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. egor1

    Where is all the help for the northeast that the people of katrina wanted?
    Guess we are of a different species.

    August 31, 2011 at 5:34 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Wilma

    2006? OMG! Wasn't that the year Wilma visited Florida? on behalf of myself & all the other Wilma's out there. How about retiring that name too? Hurricaine jokes AREN'T funny

    August 31, 2011 at 5:41 pm | Report abuse |
  3. ck1721

    Katia vs Katrina....shouldn't they have changed it a little more than just removing 2 letters? How about Kate, Kelly, Kenzie, etc.?

    August 31, 2011 at 5:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • sam

      They're not chosen. It's a random alphabetical list.

      August 31, 2011 at 6:02 pm | Report abuse |


    August 31, 2011 at 6:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mark


      August 31, 2011 at 7:30 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Shane G

    Is there really a shortage of names that they can't come up with a different name for every storm?? How dumb.

    August 31, 2011 at 6:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Shane

      There isn't a real reason to not recycle names. And after 50 some odd years you'd be using some of the really off the wall names that half of the people can't pronounce.

      August 31, 2011 at 7:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kyle

      What's REALLY dumb is that people are irritated with the name of the hurricane. WHO CARES.

      August 31, 2011 at 8:54 pm | Report abuse |
  6. dale

    Only if it does damage

    August 31, 2011 at 6:55 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Matt

    This better miss Virginia holy god

    August 31, 2011 at 6:56 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Phoenix

    Good journalism is about providing much needed information to the public about even the remote possibility of danger. It's about taking neccessary precautions, and nothing else.

    August 31, 2011 at 7:33 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Chainyanker

    Pray to the Global Warming God for it is more powerful than the Rain God the fools in the mid-west and south have been praying to. In the coming months and years the GWG will show again and again who is most powerful.

    August 31, 2011 at 7:43 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Frank Pierce

    Let's call them by religious names since we have a bunch of nut jobs in this world who think that God uses weather to send us messages.

    August 31, 2011 at 7:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • choopychups


      August 31, 2011 at 8:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • blue

      Hurricane Jesus has a nice ring to it...

      August 31, 2011 at 8:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • um yeah

      Actually, if you single out one of the Gods, like the one in the Bible for instance, He specifically states that He has His way in the whirlstorm.... just sayin.
      Psalm 83:15, Isaiah 28:2, Nahum 1:3

      August 31, 2011 at 8:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Melanie

      haha, that's great

      August 31, 2011 at 9:34 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Nathalie

    Ya know, nevermind what CNN tells you. Just go to the National HUrricane center, aka NOAA. These newscasts sell panic and drama. NOAA has a responsibility to being correct, not selling news.

    August 31, 2011 at 8:32 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Ernie farter

    I have a few...
    Hurricane deshean, shanequa, latonda, demarcusanthony, latonda, now those would rock.... Imagine the headline, east coast bracing for the thunderous approach of hurrican shanequa......

    August 31, 2011 at 8:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chris

      That's pretty funny considering these storms develop off the coast of Africa!!

      August 31, 2011 at 9:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mmmmm

      No African plays those silly urban syllables...really should widen your cultural experience...

      August 31, 2011 at 9:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chris

      Okay, I was only trying to be funny. I know that people IN Africa don't have names like this. These are obviously "African American" names here in America. Duh.

      August 31, 2011 at 9:35 pm | Report abuse |
  13. jason83

    I hope it doesn't do any damage to east coast. Irene provided where I live up to 2 inches of rain which was great because at the point we had a 5 inch rainfall defecit. Hopeully Katia will only graze the coast to provied us with a good, steady soaking rain. It's a shame though that it takes a tropical storm or a hurricance to get us of a defecit. Hopefully it will go to texas to provide them beneficial rain. Cross your fingers. Sorry to hear about the folks in Vermont.

    August 31, 2011 at 8:50 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Kyle

    I really hope this one hits new orleans. That city is a dump.

    August 31, 2011 at 8:55 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Thinkfree

    You know poster "um yeah", many religious scholars believe that hurricanes occur when god farts just keep on takin that bible literally...whirlstorm sounds like a vacuum cleaner.

    August 31, 2011 at 9:26 pm | Report abuse |
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