The GFS model shows Hurricane Maria skirting the east coast at the start of next week, with adverse weather conditions reaching North Carolina by Tuesday September 26.
Other models have Maria tracking further east into the Atlantic.
Nick Petro of the National Weather Service in Raleigh has said that it is too early to forecast whether Maria will make direct landfall with North Carolina.
“There are too many possibilities right now,” Petro told The Raleigh News & Observer, a local newspaper in North Carolina.
However, he said that even if Maria stays “hundreds of miles” away from the east coast, rip currents are guaranteed.
Scott Krentz of the National Weather Service in Greenville-Spartanburg, South Carolina, said that forecasters will have “better confidence” by Friday or Saturday as to whether Maria will hit the US.
Parts of North Carolina’s Outer Banks are currently under water as Hurricane Jose passes to the east.
Last week about 45,000 homes were left without power as Hurricane Irma blew through the state as a tropical storm, uprooting trees and dumping inches of rain.
Hurricane Maria: The GFS model shows Maria skirting past North Carolina
Irma was blamed for one fatality after a man died from carbon monoxide poisoning from a generator used to power his home during the storm.
Maria made first landfall as a category 5 hurricane in Dominica shortly after 9pm EDT on Monday (2am BST this morning).
The island has been struck with “widespread devastation”, according to its Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit.
He wrote on Facebook: “So far we have lost all what money can buy and replace. My greatest fear for the morning is that we will wake to news of serious physical injury and possible deaths as a result of likely landslides triggered by persistent rains.
“So, far the winds have swept away the roofs of almost every person I have spoken to or otherwise made contact with. The roof to my own official residence was among the first to go and this apparently triggered an avalanche of torn away roofs in the city and the countryside.”
HURRICANE MARIA PATH LIVE UPDATES
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The storm was briefly downgraded to a category 4 hurricane, but has regained category 5 status and now has maximum sustained winds of 160mph.
In the last few hours it has skirted past Guadeloupe, bringing powerful winds and heavy, near-horizontal rain.
Maria is on track to reach Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands tonight and Wednesday.
The NOAA warned: “Hurricane conditions should spread throughout portions of the hurricane warning area in the Leeward Islands this morning.
Hurricane Maria: Latest NOAA path update
“A dangerous storm surge accompanied by large and destructive waves will raise water levels by as much as 7 to 11 feet above normal tide levels in the hurricane warning area near where the center of Maria moves across the Leeward Islands and the British Virgin Islands.
“The combination of a dangerous storm surge and the tide will cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded by rising waters moving inland from the shoreline.”
Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands will see waters rise between 6 and 9 foot if the peak surge coincides with the high tide.
Hurricane Maria: Latest ECMWF model
A Hurricane Warning is in effect for Guadeloupe, Dominica, St Kitts and Nevis, Montserrat, the US and British Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Culebra, and Vieques.
A Hurricane Watch is in effect for Saba, St Eustatius, St Maarten, St Martin, St Barthelemy, Anguilla and Isla Saona to Puerto Plata.
Hurricane conditions are possible within the Hurricane Watch area in the Dominican Republic late Wednesday, with tropical storm conditions possible by early Wednesday.