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. justathought

    ==========@freddie12:18================ I doubt that Ywgwie and some of his other friends have even got jobs and they are probably just cokeheads anyway.

    August 31, 2011 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse |
  2. M Flor

    @Deep North, Atlantic hurricanes receive BOTH male and female names. Read the article and click on the link, become EDUCATED because the only idiot here is you.

    August 31, 2011 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Thinkfree

    See – Jim has his thinkin cap on today. East Coast hype.

    August 31, 2011 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse |
  4. M Flor

    My apologies Deep North, you are not the idiot, it's bresson.

    August 31, 2011 at 1:55 pm | Report abuse |
  5. jesse

    More hysteria...

    August 31, 2011 at 1:59 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Nostradamus

    It is fear mongering. One out of 1,000 model and guidance runs have shown a US landfall and everyone is running with it. It's absolutely ridiculous for anyone to be scaring people based on one model run. This storm is for the fishes, not the US coast.

    August 31, 2011 at 2:00 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Kansas Joe

    Wow, this could be massive. The cable news channels should cancel all their programing immediately and begin round the clock coverage of this storm!

    August 31, 2011 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
  8. justathought

    =========@Janet12:23=================== Agreed. I guess some people don't want to talk about anything else, just look at Ywgwie's 11:50 post, not a thing about the hurricains or any other weather connected story. But, Ywgwie, I think needs a good rest.

    August 31, 2011 at 2:05 pm | Report abuse |
  9. patricia

    Calm down everyone! I have been through charlie, frances and jean in florida. Be prepared and stay safe.

    August 31, 2011 at 2:06 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Sev

    what in hell leads people to believe this article..or meteorologists in general thrive on fear mongering. It's their job to predict weather patterns....and that's quite the task considering the number of variables that affect weather patterns. I'll tell you what....all those people that think they can do better.....go play russian roullette..and call out which chamber 1-6 the bullet is in. You can sit out that round.....let's see how well you do.....cause the odds of predicting the exact strength and path of a hurricane over a thousand miles out at sea is just as uncertain.

    August 31, 2011 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Luisthc

    I guess everyone took this article as a political argument because we always have to blame someone. If that's the point, I'm going to blame Hugo Chavez for this!.. Does anyone agree with me?....

    August 31, 2011 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Bucko G

    I think the speed thing may just be a metric to US conversion thing that the NWS can answer. Using my handy-dandy cell conversion calculator, I see that 74 mph = 119.09 kmph and 75 mph = 120.7 kmph; whereas an even 120 kmph = 74.57 mph. My guess is that hurricane defining speed is based on metric, as most of the scintific community uses metric. Imagine a hurricane wimd speed in "Furlongs per hr"!

    August 31, 2011 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
  13. john

    Well everyone complained that Irene wasnt as powerful as the media made it out to be so now they have Katia.

    August 31, 2011 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
  14. DrDoITT

    Why no hurricanes in california?

    August 31, 2011 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Deep North

      Hurricanes can't form over land. They pretty much travel east to west, only turning after they have formed by very large weather systems.

      August 31, 2011 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Rob

    maybe we should start passin' them thar FEMA bills in congress?

    August 31, 2011 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • WebbT

      When the House start sending bills to the Senate that doesn't have a couple of ringers attached they would get through a lot faster.

      August 31, 2011 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
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