Ocracoke Island in the Outer Banks of North Carolina will be under a mandatory evacuation order beginning at 5 a.m. today, Hyde County tweeted Sunday evening.
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.
A storm surge watch is in effect for Cape Lookout to Duck.
"The people most able to leave - professionals, middle class - may well chose to leave", Watson said Sunday. The hurricane center said storm surge flooding, especially along the sound side of the North Carolina Outer Banks, will be possible starting later today.
A tropical storm warning remains in effect from Bogue Inlet to the NC/VA border. Gradual weakening is forecast during the next couple of days and Maria is forecast to become a tropical storm Tuesday night.
As of the last advisory from the hurricane center, at 7 a.m. CDT, Hurricane Maria was located about 190 miles southeast of Cape Hatteras, N.C., and was moving north at 7 mph.
Maria is a Category 1 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson hurricane scale. But Pearson said officials think between 10,000 and 12,500 people have left the island ahead of the storm.
And all seven have come in a row: Franklin, Gert, major Hurricane Harvey, major Hurricane Irma, major Hurricane Jose, Katia and now Lee.
THE Atlantic hurricane season is so bad weathermen could run out of storm names - with this year threatening to be the second-worst tropical storm season since records began 166 years ago.
Maria slammed into the small island on September 18 as a Category 5 hurricane, causing devastating damage, before continuing on to hit Puerto Rico.
Millions of people in the Caribbean are still reeling from Hurricane Maria's devastation. According to Moss, a new front moving in after Thursday could kick Maria quickly out to sea, minimizing any impacts.