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. J Mann


    August 31, 2011 at 2:29 pm | Report abuse |
  2. KrissyD

    I really hope this one moves out to sea. If it keeps heading WNW, it will be in the Mid-Atlantic/Northeast again. Please turn out to sea Katia!

    August 31, 2011 at 2:31 pm | Report abuse |
  3. twirtzy

    I love how weather reports are now referred to as fear mongering. The internet has bred a whole new kind of idiot.

    August 31, 2011 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • solo traveler

      It's fear mongering if it's irrelevant but is being portrayed otherwise, with the express purpose of raising concern where currently none should logically exist.

      August 31, 2011 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • twirtzy

      Solo traveler,

      And this article does that?

      Don't confuse being "aware" with being "concerned".

      August 31, 2011 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • nuclear threat

      there's value in preparing to save lives

      August 31, 2011 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
  4. solo traveler

    If the weather stays this good in New England, then we'll probably get hit again. If we return to our usual every-other-day crappy weather, then Katia will be forced to leave us alone. We just need to get our mojo back on again. C'mon steely gray skies, fog, and drizzle!

    August 31, 2011 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
  5. DaveinCincy

    Must be due to Global Cooling...errrr...Warming....errrr...Climate change.. Boogada Boogada Boogada.....
    Al Gore makes another Billion and adds yet another private jet to his fleet.

    August 31, 2011 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Reuben


      August 31, 2011 at 3:24 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Zeb

    All this talk about fear-mongering!! Obviously from people who have limited understanding of the scientific process. I weathered Irene, and for me it turned out to be less dreadful than I anticipated. I live in Virginia, and waited until Saturday AM before I decided I would decamp to western parts of VA. In hindsight, I could have stayed home, but since only hindsight is 20/20, all you can do is make decisions with the best information available at the time. To those who look for certainty, oh well!

    August 31, 2011 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bennett

      Well said !!!!!

      August 31, 2011 at 2:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Vermont folk

      you should count yourself lucky. The whole state of Vermont is a disaster area. It could have been you

      August 31, 2011 at 3:00 pm | Report abuse |
  7. bassmaster22

    You people could turn an article about a blade of grass into political commentary. Amazing. It's like playing 7 degrees of separation of Kevin Bacon, only you can all do it in one degree. Well done.

    August 31, 2011 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
  8. carlos

    obumma....equals parasite, and that is exactly what you are

    August 31, 2011 at 2:37 pm | Report abuse |
  9. scott

    but tomorrows report will be "there is a 5 percent chance that the Tropical Storm Katia will be a hurricane and hit Florida" The next day "there is a 5 percent chance that the Tropical Storm Katia will be a hurricane and hit Carolina in 5 days", The next day "there is a 5 percent chance that the Tropical Storm Katia will be a hurricane and hit NYC in a week and a half." But Texas is having a severe drought the past 3 month but that is not as exciting as seeing a news reporter wait a week for a hurricane. The waiting is killing me. Good luck people in wake of Irene.

    August 31, 2011 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Martin

    I hope Katia destroys some rich peoples homes, but to be fair, I hope they're out of town when it happens. wickedimproper . com

    August 31, 2011 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • twirtzy

      Hey, and why not some rich people's businesses that employ middle class people too?

      Wishing damage to anybody's property is the sign of a troll....

      August 31, 2011 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Martin

      I want them to be fully re-imbursed by insurance though, so there's no ill-will.

      August 31, 2011 at 2:47 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Bennett

    I live 45 miles west of Richmond, VA and they got hammered Sat. and many still have no power. Here, minimal damage. But to blame the media for over-hyping or under-hyping Irene is wrong. Nobody can predict whether a storm of this magnitude will weaken or strengthen. All that is predictable is the path.

    Everybody in a hurricane zone should ALWAYS keep a supply of food, water, batteries,propane, etc... in case of a storm, or as in southside VA, an ice storm!

    August 31, 2011 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
  12. yoyo martinez

    I hope and pray Katia finds its path through CUBA and wipes out once and for all the oppressive dictatorial regime of the old fart Castro brothers and cleanse all the dirt, fear, hunger, lies, desperation, attrocities, deprabation (well, the list will be never-ending) of this corruptied and false demagic form of goverment . . .

    August 31, 2011 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Kisa Kisa

    I can't wait until these storms are long gone.

    August 31, 2011 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • AzHitman

      This looks like the rap group that was at the talent show the other night, God they sucked.

      August 31, 2011 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Mo

    what does your comment have to do with the hurricane??? Ignorant comment.

    August 31, 2011 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Hof

    Hurricane Katia will have to hit Washington. The nation's capital is a magnet for soggy hot air.

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