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Maria back to hurricane strength off North Carolina's coast

Maria has become a hurricane once again as it lingers off the coast of North Carolina, weather experts said.

Reports from a US Air Force Reserve reconnaissance aircraft indicate that Maria's top sustained winds are near 75mph, with higher gusts.

The centre of Hurricane Maria is about 165 miles off Cape Hatteras, and hurricane-force winds remain offshore, extending outward up to 105 miles.

But tropical storm-force winds extend for as much as 230 miles from the centre, covering the water on both sides of the narrow barrier islands of Hatteras and Ocracoke.

Maria's forward speed is just 6mph, so the storm is taking its time to swing north and away from the US Atlantic coast.

The US National Hurricane Centre upgraded the storm back to hurricane level.

AP

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