Katia Becomes Hurricane East of Leeward Islands

September 1, 2011

Tropical storm Katia has become the second hurricane of the season, as it passes over the warm water of the Atlantic Ocean.

The most recent bulletin from the National Hurricane Center in Miami at 2:00 a.m. EDT located the storm around 1065 miles, 1710 kms, east of the Leeward Islands.

Maximum sustained winds were clocked at 75 mph, 120 km/h, making Katia a category one hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale. It is presently moving “toward the west near 20 mph, 32 km/h,” said the NHC, and “a general motion toward the west-northwest and a decrease in forward speed are expected during the next couple of days.”

The bulletin added that “some strengthening is forecast during the next 48 hours, and Katia could become a major hurricane by the weekend.”

The NHC is also following another weather pattern much closer to the U.S., which it describes as a “large area of cloudiness and thunderstorms over the eastern Gulf of Mexico, associated with a trough of low pressure.”

The system has “changed little in organization during the past several hours,” as “winds are currently unfavorable for development.” However, the NHC indicated that those conditions are “forecast to become more conducive later today, and the system could become a tropical depression during the next day.”

The bulletin concluded that the system has a “high chance – 60 percent – of becoming a tropical cyclone during the next 48 hours as it moves slowly northwestward.” It warned that interests “along the entire northern Gulf of Mexico coast should monitor the progress of this disturbance.”

Source: National Hurricane Center

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