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(Reuters) - Lee has strengthened to become the fifth major hurricane of the 2017 Atlantic season, the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) said on Wednesday.

Lee, now a Category 3 hurricane on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale, was about 1,765 miles (2845 km) west of the Azores, packing maximum sustained winds of 115 miles per hour (185 km per hour), the NHC said.

"Slow weakening is forecast during the next 48 hours," it added.

(Reporting by Karen Rodrigues in Bengaluru)

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