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    Maria Fighting for Tropical Storm Status

    September 10, 2011; 12:18 PM ET
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    Maria is on the verge of losing its tropical storm status, but could regain strength later this weekend as it begins to follow in the footsteps of Katia.

    The AccuWeather.com Hurricane Center reports that Maria is barely a tropical storm as it churns near the Leeward Islands.

    Disruptive wind shear (strong winds high in the atmosphere) is preventing Maria from wrapping up into a powerful tropical system.

    Maria could actually lose its tropical storm status later today. However, that does not mean its total demise will then immediately follow.

    Maria should escape the disruptive wind shear Sunday into Monday, giving the system an opportunity to strengthen into a stronger tropical storm.

    As Maria battles to regain strength, it should take a curve and follow in the footsteps of Katia. Such a track would allow Maria to bypass the Bahamas, then pass in between the East Coast of the United States and Bermuda at midweek.

    Today marks the peak of the Atlantic hurricane season. Fittingly, there are two other named tropical systems churning in the Atlantic.

    As was the case with Katia, the main impact to the East Coast if Maria follows this path would be rough surf and a heighten risk of rip currents.

    Bermuda would be subject to not just extremely rough surf, but also Maria's outer rain bands and gusty winds. The severity of these latter two impacts would depend on how close Maria passes to the island nation.

    Before Maria has any impact on the United States and Bermuda, it will first continue to spread its gusty rain bands from southeast to northwest across the Lesser Antilles this weekend.

    The rain bands should reach the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico on Monday.

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