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. Nitrous

    I'm personally waiting for the plague of locusts.

    August 31, 2011 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Carol


    August 31, 2011 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
  3. darlene

    Irene was nothing compared to Katrina

    August 31, 2011 at 3:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chris R

      What an insight!

      August 31, 2011 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • down2earth

      Depends on whom you ask! this is ignorance.

      August 31, 2011 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • rafael

      @darlene: 4th deadlest storm in 30 years. Do you think your "insight" matters to those who were killed?

      August 31, 2011 at 4:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • propmgr

      not true! Money wise, Irene has caused many billions in damage.

      August 31, 2011 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • tookalook22

      I guess you don't live in Vermont then or Quebec?? Perhaps you should think before you write! What a ridiuclous statemet. It may not have affected you but you can be damned sure anyone who lost a loved one or property doesn't feel the way you do.

      August 31, 2011 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • pithyMcgee

      propmgr – Irene caused about $1B in damage just in the Caribbean, and is estimated to have caused around $10B in New England. I don't know figures for other areas, but I can tell you it will take another $121B before Irene even comes close to equaling the damage caused by Katrina.

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

      Doesn't that depend on where you live? Many people's homes were also wiped out by Irene.

      August 31, 2011 at 4:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • propmgr

      @pithyMcGee – Your numbers for New England are incorrect (too low), and you didn't even bother with the figures for the Carolinas or Virginia, and the number in PR was higher.

      August 31, 2011 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • kate

      Denpends on if you were affected or not...doesn't it?

      August 31, 2011 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Fred

      Only because Katrina hit a city that was built below sea level and ruled by a corrupt, incompetent local govt. And populated by people whose resourcefulness can never be compared to Yankees.

      August 31, 2011 at 5:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kush

      I think ya'll should layoff Darlene, while maybe not the greatest insight she's correct, there was far more damage & lives lost in Katrina than Irene. For those who's lost loved ones in Irene of course this storm is worse on them but the fact remains that Katrina took over a 100 times more lives(1836 dead vs. 18 dead) than Irene. Katrina was the 6th strongest hurricane recorded in the Atlantic ever & the costliest natural disaster in U.S. history.

      August 31, 2011 at 5:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kirk

      Sorry but Darlene is right. Most of you know nothing. All you see is what is on the news and that was only about the flooding in New Orleans. Well I'm here to tell you that Katrina did a lot more damage than that. Half of the Mississippi Gulf Coast was wiped clean at least three block inland from the beach. Homes, businesses, everything gone. Nothing but concrete slabs remaining.

      August 31, 2011 at 5:47 pm | Report abuse |
  4. ZombieKiller2000


    August 31, 2011 at 3:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • hahaha

      ummm you're looking for the TOSH.0 blog...that's a whole other website

      August 31, 2011 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
  5. bobcat2u

    For all you that feel that cnn is just fear mongering. Got to -Weather Undeground site. Click on tropical. Click on north atlantic. This will bring up a map and you will be able to track the storm yourself. Gives estimated movements of the storms according to computer models. That way you can form your own opinion and start your own fear mongering.

    August 31, 2011 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lola

      No thanks. I prefer to let scientists collect data, analyze it, and report their findings; from that, I can determine my level of preparedness. Real fear-mongering comes when non-scientists like you put themselves on par with real scientists and then mis-interpret the data because you aren't an experienced. Stay out of it, big shot.

      August 31, 2011 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • rafael

      @Lola: talk about missing someone's point entirely and in the process contradicting yourself. babcat2u was saying that the scientific data are available at The storm track predictions are how the scientists "collect the data, analyze it, and report their findings." babcat2u is pointing you in a sensible direction and you sarcastically call him/her a bigshot?

      August 31, 2011 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lola'sBF

      Lola honey, would you stop blabbering and pour me a drink? Thanks sweetheart.

      August 31, 2011 at 4:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jaysunstar

      Yeah Lola, way to miss the mark on that one. When you are blogging, please try not to overuse the "big girl" voice unless you are absolutely sure you won't be putting your own foot in your mouth.

      August 31, 2011 at 5:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Snuffy

      I agree with Lola. Of course being informed is helpful. But just because I can read a book about heart surgery doesn't mean that I'm qualified to make a life or death decision. Would you want somebody who's looked at a website to wire all the electricty in your house? To extract your child's tooth? To determine your aging parent's proper medication? No, you'd want somebody whose read the book PLUS has expertise in the field.

      August 31, 2011 at 5:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Snuffy

      ah, sorry... Who has (or who's) read the book, not "whose read."

      August 31, 2011 at 5:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Akava

      Comparing Apples and Oranges there Snuffy?

      August 31, 2011 at 5:28 pm | Report abuse |
  6. jzamppy

    I have been through a few hurricanes living in Texas. Be smart about it. Prepare. Buy extra water, canned food, flashlights, candles, and if you can afford it a generator. I went three weeks without power in the middle of Houston don't want to end up like that. And as we say around here...HUNKER DOWN

    August 31, 2011 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
  7. jzamppy

    This is not a fear mongering article. It's rather factual. I've been through several hurricanes here in Texas and there are some things you need to do. Buy water, canned food, flashlights, batteries, candles, matches and a generator if you can afford it. Three weeks with no power in any kind of heat is no fun. And HUNKER DOWN!

    August 31, 2011 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Thinkfree

    Sarah Palin can see Katia from her house...

    August 31, 2011 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • regnarg

      Right on

      August 31, 2011 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jon

      LMAO! Hilarious!

      August 31, 2011 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
  9. florida1

    After my husband's family went through Hurricane Andrew and we went through hurricanes Francis and Jean within two weeks of each other, I understand all of the concern these weathermen and forecasters have. Andrew was horrible, Francis and Jean were only Cat 2 storms but the power was unbelievable. It is better to go to all of the trouble of preparing than to see what happens after the hurricanes blow everthing to hell and back. Any one who has experienced these storms like I have over the years knows they are all different, some are dry, with terrible winds, some wet with little wind. Both are deadly. So I respect the scientist behind the weather and hope they keep up the good job and save my butt when the next big one hits the coast of Florida.

    August 31, 2011 at 4:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • George

      You misplaced the word 'big' in that last sentence. I think you meant to say "save my big butt when the next one hits..."

      August 31, 2011 at 4:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tew2010

      I think florida1 would want your big butt saved, too, when the next one hits. Afterall, you sure seem like a big butt by your post!

      August 31, 2011 at 4:58 pm | Report abuse |
  10. FLACGuy

    I live in Puerto Rico and we've had quite a few storms/hurricanes in the past 20 years. Experience has taught us that if we're hit by a storm / hurricane we will be without power at least a week and in some counties up to a month, maybe two months. With Irene I was just out of power for about 20 hours (I have a 15KW generator at home) and most of the island had power back after a week, there's still some isolated pockets without power. I think we were very lucky this time because back in 1998 after hurricane Georges, there were areas without power for more than 6 months.

    August 31, 2011 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Don McLaughlin

    >> not true! Money wise, Irene has caused many billions in damage.
    I think the point being made was that hurricane Irene was not a very powerful storm as measured by Saffir–Simpson Hurricane Scale. When it made landfall in nyc it was no longer even a hurricane, its sustained wind speed having dropped below 74 mph.

    August 31, 2011 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Karen

    First they tell us no threat to land and now they don't know...

    August 31, 2011 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
  13. sarah

    I am sure glad I have Netflix...another weekend of coverage over kill is just too much to bear

    August 31, 2011 at 4:30 pm | Report abuse |
  14. n2video

    I hope Katia barrels right through Eric Cantor's house!

    August 31, 2011 at 5:13 pm | Report abuse |
  15. jvdblondie

    Wow! Netflix so you don't have to watch more coverage? I just wish I had power here in Virginia from this storm some of you seem to thing wasn't any big deal. So far five days of cold showers....not for the faint of heart. Thank God that's the worst of our problems. Everybody get off your pedestals. It's a hard landing when you fall.

    August 31, 2011 at 5:26 pm | Report abuse |
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