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Both Storms Expected to Move Away from US

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Near record warmth today as a summery start to fall continues

Hurricane Maria is forecast to become a tropical storm later on Tuesday, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) said, adding that its center will pass east of the coast of North Carolina during the next couple of days.

Met Éireann says there will be unsettled weather with Tropical Storms Lee and Maria in the Atlantic "making details uncertain" over Ireland.

Across the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico, tropical storms have killed at least 100.

The state's Outer Banks bore the brunt of the extreme weather, with Maria generating powerful winds, violent waves and storm surges.

In the Outer Banks, coastal wind gusts could be as high as 60 miles per hour.

However, a tropical system like Maria along the coast will slow down the progress of weather systems back to the west across North America. This area of low pressure will produce very heavy rain and flooding across a large area of Central America. The greatest impact will be felt along the North Carolina coast.

The National Hurricane Centre said the system is heading east at about 13mph with winds of 65mph and higher gusts at 6pm.

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Maria was a Category 1 hurricane as it moved northward in the Atlantic, but it weakened to a tropical storm on Tuesday.

No injuries have been reported on the US mainland from Maria, which lashed North Carolina's fragile Outer Banks with high water and waves, washing over the only highway connecting Hatteras Island to the mainland. As Maria moves over cooler waters, weakening is expected and could be downgraded to a tropical storm by the end of the day tomorrow.

Both systems are said to be weakening, but the Met Office have warned there is potential for them to impact the weather in the United Kingdom, although the extent of this influence is now uncertain.

Officials in coastal communities have issued mandatory evacuations ahead of Maria.

Hurricane Lee, meanwhile, has strengthened into a Category 3 storm - the fifth major hurricane of the 2017 season - with maximum sustained winds of 115 miles per hour.

Maria is forecast to accelerate her east-northeastward trajectory on Thursday through Friday. "A wind gust to 41 miles per hour [66 km/h] was recently reported at Manteo, North Carolina". The longer the island is without power and clean water the higher the risk of illness will rise.

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