Maria regains hurricane status off coast of North Carolina; Hurricane Lee forms in Atlantic

Maria a hurricane again as it lashes shores of North Carolina


DETROIT – The National Hurricane Center says Maria has regained strength and become a hurricane once again as it lingers off the coast of North Carolina.

Reports from an Air Force Reserve reconnaissance aircraft indicate that Maria's top sustained winds are near 75 mph (120 kmh), with higher gusts.

The center of Hurricane Maria is about 165 miles (265 kilometers) off Cape Hatteras, and hurricane-force winds remain offshore, extending outward up to 105 miles (165 kilometers). But tropical storm-force winds extend for as much as 230 miles (370 kilometers) from the center, covering the water on both sides of the narrow barrier islands of Hatteras and Ocracoke.

Maria's forward speed is just 6 mph (9 kph), so the storm is taking its time to swing north and away from the U.S. Atlantic coast.

Hurricane Lee has become the 5th major hurricane of the 2017 Atlantic season, but is no threat to land, NHC says.