August 31st, 2011
11:12 PM ET

Katia becomes hurricane; another storm brewing in Gulf

[Updated at 11:12 p.m. ET] Katia became the second hurricane of the Atlantic season Wednesday night and is forecast to become a Category 3 storm in the Atlantic Ocean by the weekend, though it's still too early to know whether it will hit land.

This image, taken at 9:15 p.m. Wednesday, shows storms in the Gulf of Mexico that forecasters say could become a tropical depression.

Elsewhere, forecasters on Wednesday saw the potential for a new tropical storm that could hit the U.S. Gulf Coast over the weekend.

A cluster of storms over the southeastern Gulf of Mexico on Wednesday could become a tropical depression by Thursday, with the help of upper-level winds that are forecast to aid development, the National Hurricane Center said in its 8 p.m. Wednesday tropical weather outlook.

“Most computer models are developing this into at least a tropical storm, if not a hurricane within the next two days,” CNN Meteorologist Jacqui Jeras said Wednesday evening.

“There is a ton of potential for flooding,” Jeras said. “One computer model solution here (puts) as much as 6 to 12 inches of rain on the Gulf Coast by Saturday morning.”

Other models have the system going into Texas, parts of which are dealing with drought and wildfires.

The system has a 60 percent chance of becoming a tropical cyclone in the next 48 hours, the hurricane center’s 8 p.m. outlook said.

As for Katia, it strengthened from a tropical storm to a Category 1 hurricane Wednesday night, with maximum sustained winds at 75 mph shortly before 11 p.m., the hurricane center said. The wind-speed threshold for hurricanes is 74 mph.

Shortly before 11 p.m., Katia was about 1,165 miles east of the Caribbean Sea’s Leeward Islands, moving west-northwest near 20 mph.

The storm could be a major hurricane with winds above 110 mph by Saturday night, possibly still hundreds of miles east of Puerto Rico, according to the hurricane center. It still is too early to predict whether Katia will pose any threat to land.

[Initial post, 8:06 a.m. ET] Tropical Storm Katia was gradually gaining strength over the Atlantic Ocean early Wednesday and could reach hurricane strength by the afternoon, the National Hurricane Center's 5 a.m. advisory said.

At 5 a.m., Katia was almost a 1,000 miles west of the Cape Verde Islands, moving west-northwest at 21 mph.

The storm's maximum sustained winds were 65 mph. Katia will become a Category 1 hurricane when the winds hit 74 mph.

The storm was forecast to become a major hurricane with winds above 110 mph by early Sunday.

It is still too early to predict whether Katia will pose any threat to land.

Katia is the storm name that replaced Katrina in the revolving list of names, according to the center. The list of Atlantic hurricane names is repeated every six years, and this year the list that was used in 2005 is being reused.

A storm name is retired if it is used for a hurricane that caused major damage, as Katrina did to the U.S. Gulf Coast in 2005.

"The only time that there is a change is if a storm is so deadly or costly that the future use of its name on a different storm would be inappropriate for obvious reasons of sensitivity," the hurricane center said.

soundoff (315 Responses)
  1. Deep North

    Unless it turns tomorrow, the same areas are in for one heck of a month!

    August 31, 2011 at 12:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Janet

      Let's hope it turns back out to sea!

      August 31, 2011 at 12:19 pm | Report abuse |
  2. rDS

    No....this one is a baaad girl, getting all stirred up in the warm Atlantic. This one will be give lots of land a whippin'.

    August 31, 2011 at 12:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • watever

      I like turtles

      August 31, 2011 at 1:15 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Elizabeth

    The media, Home Depot, Zepherhills water, Duracell batteries, etc. Here we go again congratulations on your profits...

    August 31, 2011 at 12:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Colin in Florida

      Elizabeth-it appears that you have never been in a hurricane or other natural disaster-I have. Believe me, when you are without water or power for days on end, you have no idea how helpful a HD or bottled water is. And to the best of my knowledge, none of these companies raise prices after a disaster.

      I was in Miami multiples times after Andrew, helping my cousin, and saw no evidence of price gouging, except for individuals from Ft. Meyers and Orlando who bought up every generator they could locally then drove down to Miami and sold them at hugely inflated prices. HD prices were the same as at my stores in unaffected Clearwater.

      August 31, 2011 at 12:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • sanity

      I have lived in hurricane zones for many years. My experience is that Home Depot, Lowe's,... do all they can to help people prepare and recover from storms. No, they do not give away stuff, but they work hard to distribute materials and they do not raise their prices. Maybe next time people can just call you for free supplies.

      August 31, 2011 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Elizabeth

      Colin i never said that they raise their prices...i live in Florida too and i know what a hurricane is, but sometimes the media make people crazy and the sales go up.

      August 31, 2011 at 12:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • PushingBack

      Sales go up because most people would rather prepare only if danger is imminent. If you live in an area that is regularly targeted then your plans should include having the basics ready all season long. HD and Lowes are both great but think about it folks – they can't stock enough for everyone to buy in the last 48 hours before a storm.

      August 31, 2011 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Big George in Big D

      Profit is not a dirty word. Enough with the class warfare.

      August 31, 2011 at 6:08 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Nostradamus

    The only place that should be worried about this storm is Bermuda. The trough over the US is going to kick it North and then Northwest. There are people who are dieing, flooded out, and homeless due to Irene. Can the media stop with the fear mongering?

    August 31, 2011 at 12:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • TheTruth72

      Don't fear what can kill the body but not the soul. Fear what can kill the body AND the soul. Jesus loves you my friend.

      August 31, 2011 at 12:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • PushingBack

      I don't get my hurricane weather forecasts from CNN or any other outlet although where I live (Tampa Bay) we have excellent local TV coverage of storms – but we are in Florida. If you want unbiased look at these storm predictions and paths then go to http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/.

      August 31, 2011 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Spaceman

    No point in cleaning up after Irene yet............

    August 31, 2011 at 12:28 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Gerry

    How is keeping an eye on future natural disasters fear mongering? I could advertising about the end of the world after hurricane Irene fear mongering. I can see here in california after a shaky earthqauke a precursor to this so called "big one" that would tear california off fear mongering. Giving a heads up about a tropical storm gaining strength and giving people a heads up as being informative. Did they say the worst is yet to come? No, did they say "we're all gonna die!" No. SO waht's with the conclusion that this is all fear mongering?

    August 31, 2011 at 12:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • maggie

      Gerry, people sometimes just need a reason to whine. If the media weren't there, then they'd whine about not enough information.

      August 31, 2011 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nostradamus

      It's fear mongering because the chances of US landfall at this point are less than 2%. All the models and guidance show the storm curving to the NW, N, and then NE due to a weakness to its north and a strong trough swinging east out of the United States. We should be keeping on eye on real threats and not trying to play on the fears of the people that don't understand meteorology.

      August 31, 2011 at 1:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike280

      Hey Nostradumus, some people like to plan ahead further than their next meal. Knowing where a tropical storm is and how it's forming is useful to the intelligent and level-headed. I never saw "WE'RE ALL GONNA DIE" in the headlines, so I think fear-mongering is only being done by the fear-mongered.

      August 31, 2011 at 1:39 pm | Report abuse |
  7. LivinginVA

    No, they actually probably have no real idea of where it's heading yet. The number of variables is enormous. There is a reason that any weather report involving tracking a major storm system is only really good about 72 hours out. Did you know that Chaos Theory was invented by someone trying to do weather prediction?

    August 31, 2011 at 12:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • ajk68

      Even with the chaos aspect, the predicted long term tracks are generally close.
      This one pretty much looks like it's heading out to the North Atlantic.
      You can see the models at crownweather.com

      August 31, 2011 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brian

      Did you know you are wrong?

      August 31, 2011 at 3:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • duty

      do you mean Tom Clancy's work? the game or the book?

      August 31, 2011 at 9:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sarah

      Did you know that Meteorologists go through more than 6 years of calculus, geography, chemistry, physics, meteorology, geology and oceanography classes in college to get where they are. And most of the time a giant satellite sending information to a computer model delegates what comes out of a meteorologists mouth? How many years of sarcasm and judgement have you studied that brought you to your computer screen today?

      August 31, 2011 at 10:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rich in NJ

      True, but an analysis I read by a meteorologist in S.C. is that 28 past hurricanes were within 50 miles of Katia's current position, and 9 of them hit the U.S., the most recent being Hugo. So 1-in-3 odds of U.S. landfall would not be unreasonable.

      August 31, 2011 at 11:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mmmmm

      Yeah they know, I read some place that there is some divining rod technology that is capable of steering the hurricane's direction and can be used either to instigate natural disasters or steer these storms toward an enemy as a weapon.

      September 1, 2011 at 5:01 am | Report abuse |
  8. maggie

    could you be any more pessimistic? I would like to think that after katrina, it is better to be prepared for the worst. As inexact as mother nature can be, there was a time when there was no media to report as much as they do. why not just switch off if you've had enough rather than being snarky?

    August 31, 2011 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Gloria

    Be thankful we have the technology necessary to track these storms; think of the devastation and fatalities if we didn't. I do not consider it fear mongering; however, people who don't heed the warnings and orders to evacuate–whether or not a storm is Tropical Strengeth, Category 1, 2, 3 or higher are the foolish ones. Anything can happen–look at the continuing consequences of Irene this many days out.

    August 31, 2011 at 12:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      Well said, Gloria.

      August 31, 2011 at 1:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gloria

      Thank you, Mike, and I also feel Katia may be a worse storm than Irene. It seems to be a "gut" feeling with lots of folks.

      Take care, Everyone!!

      August 31, 2011 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
  10. len

    Thanks for being an idiot.

    August 31, 2011 at 12:47 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Aubrie

    I hope it's not following a similar path like Irene.. that would be salt in a wound for sure.

    August 31, 2011 at 12:52 pm | Report abuse |
  12. ThaGerm

    What are you even talking about?

    August 31, 2011 at 12:53 pm | Report abuse |
  13. mw-maryland

    There is no fear mongering in this article and it even says it is too early to tell if it poses a threat to land. Would you rather know know that it might come or wait until it is on your doorstep?

    August 31, 2011 at 12:55 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Stan

    The national hurricane center is forecasting this storm to become a major hurricane by the time it passes northeast of puerto rico. I love all the hurricane conspiracy theroists out there now. It will only take 1 major hurricane to remind you why its better to be safe than sorry. Why don't you just read the info from the source yourself instead of letting CNN report it for you and assume its fear mongering? There are websites that just track hurricanes without an invested interest in gaining viewers or promoting a fear agenda.

    August 31, 2011 at 12:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • propmgr

      The path of this hurricane is uncertain, and it is expected to be at huricane strength in the next 24 hours, and strengthen from there...nobody has said anything about Northeast of Puerto Rico.

      August 31, 2011 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • anonadon85

      What makes you any different than anybody else who read this article? You obviously read it as well. Good job on checking multiple sources for info though, pat on the back for you buddy.

      August 31, 2011 at 6:33 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Sarah

    Speaking as someone who was in a very hard hit area and is still without power 5 days after the storm... Our regular news crews really down played the seriousness of this storm and made it seem like we'd get a lot of rain and a little wind. We had significant gusts and 75% of Richmond metro area was without power after that storm, and only about half of the outages have been repaired thus far. I'm not complaining because I was moderately prepared, but I could have and should have been better prepared if the media had made it out to be more serious. In a case like this I'd rather be overly prepared and overly serious and not need to be than to underplay it and be left in the dark completely unprepared.

    August 31, 2011 at 12:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • keepItReal

      Amen! Glad you are safe! please be mindful that it is better to be away saying wow! look at what I missed!!! than dang I hope the find me soon! anyway I am RUNNING like the wind in the OTHER way if she comes my way. Be safe and not stupid!

      August 31, 2011 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • WillaMoM

      Sarah

      I agree completely. In the Midlothian area, it was only forecast as 1-2 inches of rain and 30 mph winds. We ended up getting 6-8 inches of rain & 70+mph wind gusts. Fortunatly, we were only without power for 12 hours. I was not prepared at all – just looking for a long tropical rain storm. I would rather be over prepared and not need it than be under prepared and sucking wind.

      August 31, 2011 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bella10

      Sarah, I don't want to discount what anyone in the path of this – or any other -storm has gone through. But, I live on the west coast and even we were being inundated with "this is a big one folks, get out of its path" on the nightly news. The media was ALL OVER this storm, and anyone who saw the satellite images on TV, the internet, etc could tell it was going to hit hard. I, for one, do not leave all of my decision making up to what the media tells me. If I see a gigantic swirling storm heading for me I'm going to hunker down, or leave if that is an option. I am going to be very well prepared and expect that power and other services will be disrupted for an undetermined amount of time. Regardless of what my local media tells me.

      August 31, 2011 at 6:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • realist88

      Please, you are blaming the local news for downplaying the hurricane? It was on the media 24/7 3 day before it hit, several outlets came close to saying it could wipe out NY. It isn't an exact science. You should be glad you got warning, be prepared for worst case, and quit blaming others for your lack of preparation. The buck stops with you sarah. Maybe they all knew it would flood VT and miss NYC and it was a mass conspiracy to scare the wrong people.

      August 31, 2011 at 6:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • MYTWOCENTS

      why do you need a media outlet to make you aware of a storm. goto any website (noaa.org), there you would find all the info needed. do you own research and make a decision based upon what you know not what otherw are telling you. basically, GET YOUR HEAD OUT OF THE GROUND AND MAKE AN ADULT DECISION. could be the difference of life or death. good luck!

      August 31, 2011 at 8:17 pm | Report abuse |
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