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. Katie

    So I guess the message is "Stay vigilant, we don't know what'll happen"?

    August 31, 2011 at 9:30 pm | Report abuse |
  2. ameed

    no comment

    August 31, 2011 at 9:32 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Shawnteefa

    Run run ru......

    August 31, 2011 at 9:49 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Please

    Katia, you are most welcome to send your lovely rain to Texas.

    August 31, 2011 at 10:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • RusTnuts

      What happened to the recycled urine thing? Is that still a go?

      September 1, 2011 at 1:56 am | Report abuse |
  5. Steve

    Urgent – Immediate Re-Broadcast Requested
    Until 9pm Eastern

    A Media Hype Warning has been issued for your local area.

    Forecasters are predicting hyperbole, exaggeration, fear mongering and overly excited news anchors.

    Residents are encouraged to turn off their TVs

    August 31, 2011 at 10:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hugo

      How are you so sure it is hype? What happened to Irene when it hit NC? What happened to some other hurricanes previously (such as the one that went through the Keys decades ago?)

      Do you really have enough information, as of yet, to draw such a conclusion? At the very least, you didn't even address information counter to your thesis. (Remember 9th grade? I think you can do better. I'll apologize in advance if you are still in the 8th grade or lower.)

      September 1, 2011 at 1:33 am | Report abuse |
  6. pazke

    My daughter's name is Katia. Just sayin'.

    August 31, 2011 at 10:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hugo

      Remember hurricane Hugo? Just sayin' (See the problem?)

      September 1, 2011 at 1:30 am | Report abuse |
  7. TexAss on my mind

    Katia, if you pass just north of Venesuala, past Haiti and Cuba and head wnw to TexAss. And give Rick Perry my love.

    PS. Remember Rick, for every cent of FEMA funds you receive you have to cut federal corporate welfare from your oil buddies.

    August 31, 2011 at 11:48 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Jesus 4-ever

    Don't come to the Northeast !!!!!

    August 31, 2011 at 11:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • God 4-never

      Why not? If Jesus wants it to, I'm sure you'll find some way to spin it off as being a blessing from god or jesus or some other dead person.

      September 1, 2011 at 2:32 am | Report abuse |
    • God 4-lulz

      I laughed so hard at God 4-never that I simply -had- to reply. You've won the "coolest person of the day" award for me. And that's pretty impressive seeing that it's only 3am.

      September 1, 2011 at 3:07 am | Report abuse |
  9. Daniel

    Why do we constantly amuse ourselves with natural phenomena?
    Humans are stupid animals.

    August 31, 2011 at 11:50 pm | Report abuse |
  10. s kel

    Steve what the hell is wrong with you?? Are you blind? Look what a storm downgraded to a tropical storm has done. And you call it" media hype"? You dumb azz.

    September 1, 2011 at 1:13 am | Report abuse |
  11. Nostradamus

    This storm won't even make it to Bermuda due to a weakness to it's north and a progressive trough digging into the Eastern CONUS. It makes the hurricane heard north and then northeast. Go to spaghettimodels dotcom. Click on the 5th and 7th graphics down in the third column. They are plots showing where the models are showing the storm to go.

    September 1, 2011 at 2:01 am | Report abuse |
  12. Might Zeus

    Enough already with these lame hurricane names. Let's start giving them names no one will forget. Instead of Katia how about Kafka or Kilroy or Psycho Killer. Seriously, some women named Katia is going to get her 15 minutes of fame or is it going to be infamy? Since these are destructive events, let's give them appropriate monikers such as Alien, Cujo, Stalin, Hitler, Freddie Kruger or Pin Head. If nothing else, it will put weather forcasters to the test to keep a straight face while telling everyone just exactly where hurricane Pin Head is going to hit.

    September 1, 2011 at 2:19 am | Report abuse |
  13. tada

    Bring it on.

    September 1, 2011 at 2:20 am | Report abuse |
  14. Bobbb

    When does the one in the gulf of mexico get a name?

    September 1, 2011 at 2:30 am | Report abuse |
  15. Not Dumb Enough to Live in a Hurricane Path

    Another cleansing of the coastline, well known for hurricanes. I hope it goes Cat 5 and everybody in the path completely ignores the warnings as it hits where Katrina did.

    September 1, 2011 at 2:34 am | Report abuse |
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