Maria regains strength, becomes hurricane again off coast of North Carolina as Lee becomes major storm

Written by Meeshika Sharma

Published on : September 27, 2017 5:30

A woman stands in the water as Hurricane Maria moves closer to North Carolina's Outer Banks on Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2017. Thousands of visitors abandoned their vacation plans and left the area as the hurricane moved northward in the Atlantic, churning up surf and possible flooding. (AP Photo/Ben Finley)

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) says Maria has regained strength and become a hurricane once again as it lingers off the coast of North Carolina. Maria’s top sustained winds are near 75 mph, with higher gusts.

Officials say Maria is predicted to erode more than half the dunes along North Carolina’s 300-mile coast. Beaches in Maryland and Virginia could fare even worse.

The center of Hurricane Maria is about 265 kms off Cape Hatteras, and hurricane-force winds remain offshore, extending outward up to 165 kms.Maria’s forward speed is just 9 kph, so the storm is taking its time to swing north and away from the U.S. Atlantic coast.

NHS said that meanwhile, Hurricane Lee became the fifth major storm of the 2017 hurricane season, strengthening to a Category 3 storm. Lee is 1,765 miles west of the Azores and poses no threat to land.