Thousands flee North Carolina's Outer Banks ahead of Maria

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Forecasters said that weather systems like Maria often head north out of the tropics, but when hurricanes lose connection with warmer tropical waters they lose their source of energy and weaken rapidly as a result. About 10,000 visitors to the Outer Banks were evacuated, though residents were allowed to stay put.

Original Post: Hurricane Maria emerged as a slightly weaker storm on Sunday morning, officially classified at category 2 intensity with maximum sustained winds of 105 miles per hour.

Hyde County commissioners ordered the evacuation on the island still suffering from the effects of Hurricane Jose. But Pearson said officials think between 10,000 and 12,500 people have left the island ahead of the storm.

They can bring very strong winds and heavy rain, but they are a normal part of our weather.

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Although all warnings have been dropped for the East Coast, forecasters said waves stirred up by Maria will pose a threat of rip currents and unsafe surf along beaches for the next day or two. A tropical storm watch was in effect from Surf City to Cape Lookout and from Duck to the North Carolina-Virginia state line.

The ferry from Hatteras Island to Ocracoke will start running again at 1 p.m. The warning predicts tropical storm conditions in the area within 36 hours.

Maria's maximum sustained winds Tuesday reached near 75 miles per hour.

The worst conditions will probably target the North Carolina Outer Banks between late Tuesday and Wednesday night when the storm center makes its closest approach (but probably remains offshore).

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