Fox News Weather Center

Where will Maria head after it slams the Caribbean islands?

Beyond the Caribbean, Maria will take a path somewhat similar to Jose and may be a concern for part of the eastern United States and Atlantic Canada.

Into this weekend, Maria will be guided by an area of high pressure over the western Atlantic.

A high pressure area is a large dome of air that rotates clockwise. This particular high pressure area is largely responsible for the warm and humid weather pattern currently gripping the central and eastern United States.

The latest indications are that Maria will not plow as far to the west beyond Hispaniola as Irma did. Irma moved westward to the Florida Keys, then made a rather abrupt northward turn across the Florida Peninsula.

AccuWeather meteorologists do not expect Maria to make landfall in Florida at this time. Maria will take more of a curved path late this week and into this weekend.

Static Maria LR Track

However, a change in the orientation of the high pressure area could cause Maria to track farther west.

Maria will bring another round of rough surf to the east coast of Florida, and major impact is possible in the Bahamas, east and north of Andros Island. The Bahamas farthest to the northeast would have the greatest impact from wind, seas and heavy rain.

"Following Puerto Rico and a close encounter with Hispaniola, the Turks and Caicos could face a direct hit from Maria," according to AccuWeather Hurricane Expert Dan Kottlowski.

Maria is likely to move northward later this weekend into early next week on a path that will keep the hurricane offshore of part of the southeastern U.S.

Meanwhile, a non-tropical storm will roll eastward from the Great Lakes next week. The forward speed of this storm may hold the key to the long-term track of Maria.

"On one hand, a fast-moving, non-tropical storm could kick Maria out to sea or at least keep it offshore," according to AccuWeather Chief Meteorologist Elliot Abrams.

"On the other hand, a slow-moving, non-tropical storm could pull Maria close to the coast or perhaps onshore," Abrams said. "If this happens, there is the potential for wind and heavy rain should the systems converge."

"Because of the long-term uncertainty of the path, interests from the Bahamas to the swath from the Carolinas to Maine, Atlantic Canada and Bermuda should closely monitor the progress of Maria," Kottlowski said.

At the very least, heavy seas, rough surf, strong rip currents and areas of beach erosion are likely to continue along much of the Atlantic Seaboard with some day-to-day variation into next week.

It is possible that waters along much of the Atlantic coast of the U.S. stay rough through the end of September due to the effects of Jose, then Maria.

Even if Maria remains offshore of the U.S., additional threats from the tropics are likely as the Atlantic is projected to remain active through October and into the late Autumn.