Hurricane forecasters raise 2012 predictions
Hurricane Irene rages on August 25 in the Caribbean Sea.
June 1st, 2012
02:07 PM ET

Hurricane forecasters raise 2012 predictions

On the first day of the Atlantic hurricane season, forecasters at Colorado State University have increased their predictions for the number of named storms for the year but are still predicting a below-average number of storms.

Philip Klotzbach and William Gray of Colorado State University's Department of Atmospheric Science are predicting 13 named tropical storms for the season, an increase of three from their forecast released in April. They say five of those storms will be hurricanes (with maximum sustained winds of 74 mph or above), an increase from four hurricanes in their April forecast.

The forecast for a major hurricane, a Category 3, 4 or 5 storm with winds well above 100 mph, remains at two.

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NOAA predicts 4-8 Atlantic hurricanes
A satellite image provided by NOAA shows Hurricane Irene on August 25, 2011, in the Caribbean Sea.
May 24th, 2012
11:34 AM ET

NOAA predicts 4-8 Atlantic hurricanes

[Updated at 1:19 p.m. ET] A near-normal Atlantic hurricane season is expected this year, with nine to 15 named storms and four to eight hurricanes, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced Thursday.

Of those four to eight hurricanes, NOAA expects one to three to be major. The Atlantic's six-month season begins June 1, although it got off to an early start this year, with Tropical Storm Alberto moving through the Atlantic off the U.S. East Coast last week.

NOAA also said it predicts a near-normal season for the Eastern Pacific, estimating a 70% chance of 12 to 18 named storms - with five to nine hurricanes, of which two to five would be major - for that area. The Eastern Pacific's season is May 15 to November 30.

A major hurricane, designated as Category 3 or greater, has winds of well above 100 mph. The weakest hurricanes have top sustained winds of at least 74 mph, and named storms have top winds of at least 39 mph.

NOAA officials said uncertainty over whether the El Nino weather pattern will form made it difficult to be more precise in predicting the Atlantic storm season.

"If (El Nino) develops by late summer to early fall ... conditions could be less conducive for hurricane formation and intensification during the peak months (August to October) of the season, possibly shifting the activity toward the lower end of the predicted range,” said Gerry Bell, lead seasonal hurricane forecaster at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center.

The forecasts do not predict how many of the storms will reach land.

Thursday's predictions came as a strengthening Hurricane Bud, churning in the Pacific, appeared poised to bring heavy rain to coastal southwestern Mexico.

It is extremely rare for an Eastern Pacific hurricane to affect the U.S. mainland, though some do have an influence on Hawaii.

Tropical Storm Alberto broke up in the Atlantic this week and another tropical depression was causing heavy rainfall in southern Florida, Bell said. However, he said the early storms were no harbinger of a more active season than normal.

For the Atlantic, a normal season would produce 12 named storms, including six hurricanes and three major hurricanes. Last year saw 19 named storms in the Atlantic.

The Eastern Pacific's average season produces 15 named storms, with eight hurricanes and four major hurricanes, according to NOAA.

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Ex-New Orleans cops get prison time in Danziger Bridge shootings
The shootings happened on Danziger Bridge six days after much of New Orleans went underwater when Hurricane Katrina hit.
April 4th, 2012
07:44 PM ET

Ex-New Orleans cops get prison time in Danziger Bridge shootings

A federal judge Wednesday sentenced five former New Orleans police officers to prison terms ranging from six to 65 years for the shootings of unarmed civilians in the chaotic aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, prosecutors said.

The shootings occurred on the Danziger Bridge on September 4, 2005, six days after much of New Orleans went underwater when the powerful hurricane slammed into the Gulf Coast. The ex-officers were convicted in August on a combined 25 counts of civil rights violations.

U.S. District Judge Kurt Engelhardt imposed the stiffest sentence on former officer Robert Faulcon, who was handed a 65-year term for his involvement in shooting two of the victims. Former sergeants Kenneth Bowen and Robert Gisevius got 40 years for their roles in the incident, while ex-officer Robert Villavaso was sentenced to 38 years.

The lightest term went to former detective sergeant Arthur Kaufman, who was sentenced to six years for attempting to cover up what the officers had done, according to the U.S. attorney's office in New Orleans.

The men were accused of opening fire on an unarmed family, killing 17-year-old James Brissette and wounding four others. Minutes later, Faulcon shot and killed Ronald Madison, a 40-year-old man described by Justice Department officials as having severe mental disabilities and who was trying to flee the scene when he was shot, according to the Justice Department.

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2011 is record year for $1B disasters in U.S.
A series of April tornadoes in the Southeast, including in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, was one of 2011's costliest weather events.
December 7th, 2011
08:25 PM ET

2011 is record year for $1B disasters in U.S.

The United States had a record 12 weather and climate disasters that caused at least $1 billion in damages in 2011, and that number could increase as other assessments wrap up, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Wednesday.

The country’s old record for weather and climate disasters costing at least $1 billion was nine, set in 2008.

The year’s costliest disaster so far is the April 25-28 tornado outbreak that killed 321 people in central and Southern states, including Alabama, where the Tuscaloosa, Birmingham and Huntsville areas were hard hit. Losses in that outbreak have totaled $10.2 billion, according to NOAA.

Also on the 2011 list is a multimonth drought and heatwave in the southern Plains and the Southwest, which so far has caused nearly $10 billion in direct losses to crops, livestock and timber, NOAA says. The cost will rise because the drought and the year aren’t finished.

Another disaster on the list is the May 22-27 Midwest/Southeast tornado outbreak, including a tornado that killed 158 people in Joplin, Missouri. That outbreak killed at least 177 people and caused damages of more than $9.1 billion, according to NOAA.

“In my weather career spanning four decades, I’ve never seen a year like 2011,” National Weather Service director Jack Hayes said in a video posted on NOAA’s website. “Sure, we’ve had years with extreme flooding, extreme hurricanes, extreme winter snowstorms and even extreme tornado outbreaks. But I can’t remember a year like this in which we experienced record-breaking extremes of nearly every conceivable type of weather.”

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Record-breaking late-season hurricane strengthens to category 4
Hurricane Kenneth was moving west with maximum sustained winds of 145 mph Tuesday morning.
November 22nd, 2011
11:25 AM ET

Record-breaking late-season hurricane strengthens to category 4

Hurricane Kenneth has strengthened to a category 4 storm far from land in the eastern North Pacific Ocean, becoming the strongest late-season hurricane on record in that region, the National Hurricane Center said Tuesday.

Kenneth also is the first major hurricane (category 3 or higher) on record to have formed in the eastern North Pacific so late in the year, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says.

Kenneth, churning about 750 miles south-southwest of the southern tip of Mexico’s Baja California and heading away from Mexico on Tuesday morning, presents no immediate threat to land. No coastal watches or warnings were in effect.

The hurricane, with maximum sustained winds of 145 mph, was moving west at about 13 mph shortly before 7 a.m. PT, the hurricane center said. Category 4 storms have sustained winds of 131-155 mph.

The storm is expected to weaken and turn to the west-northwest on Wednesday, the hurricane center said.

When Kenneth became a tropical depression on Sunday, it became only the fourth named storm in the eastern North Pacific to have formed after November 18, according to the hurricane center. Before Kenneth, the most recent was Hurricane Winnie, which formed on December 4, 1983.

The eastern Pacific hurricane season runs from May 15 through November 30, with peak activity from July through September, according to NOAA. Hurricane season in the Atlantic Ocean begins June 1 and ends November 30.

Arctic 'hurricane' slams Alaska
November 9th, 2011
05:35 PM ET

Arctic 'hurricane' slams Alaska

A winter storm of hurricane strength was slamming Alaska early Wednesday with winds of up to 100 mph, high seas and blizzard conditions.

The National Weather Service called the storm moving into the state off the Bering Sea "a powerful and extremely dangerous storm of record or near-record magnitude."

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[Updated at 5:35 p.m. ET] The Facebook page for the National Weather Service in Alaska warns that although skies may be clearing near parts of the back side of the storm, more coastal flooding is expected.

"A major peak in Norton Sound and from Kotzebue Sound up to Point Hope will be coming this evening and tonight. Please don't let the weakening winds trick you into thinking the worst is over in Norton Sound up to Point Hope," the page says.

One to 3 inches of additional snow, near-zero visibility and sustained winds of 30 to 50 mph - with gusts of up to 60 mph - were expected in and around Kotzebue on Wednesday evening, the National Weather Service said.

To the north, along the Chukchi Sea coast, including the village of Kivalina, sea levels may rise 3 to 5 feet above normal Wednesday afternoon, according to the weather service.

"High waves will push water onshore starting Wednesday afternoon, especially at the village of Kivalina," the weather service said on its Alaska Region Headquarters website, warning of severe flooding. "Coastal residents in the warned area should take precautions now to protect life and property and be on the alert for rising water levels. Do not delay in taking needed precautions for this unusually severe and potentially life threatening storm."

[Updated at 5:12 p.m. ET] Water is expected to rise about 2 more feet this evening in Nome, where water already has moved to the base of some buildings, National Weather Service forecasters told the Anchorage Daily News.

"So the threat of flooding is not over yet and it could be a little bit worse, this afternoon and this evening until later tonight," Bob Fischer, lead forecaster for the weather service office in Fairbanks, told the Daily News.

[Updated at 1:10 p.m. ET] Frigid winds like those now ripping across the Bering Sea into Alaska can cause more damage than warm winds, meteorologists tell the Christian Science Monitor.

"Cold air impacts the water more and can push the momentum of the wind into the water more," meteorologist Jim Brader of the National Weather Service's Fairbanks office told the Monitor.

Brader also said the winds moving in the same direction over a distance of about a thousand miles, something that means bigger waves and more water pushed ashore, according to the Monitor report.

That means people on low-lying islands and coastal areas may face big trouble, according to the report.

In fact, the village of Point Hope points out on its website how it had to move parts of the village to a new site during the 1970s because of the effects of storm surge and erosion.

[Updated at 12:36 p.m. ET] The wind chill at Red Dog Dock south of Kivalina, Alaska, was -14.1 degrees Fahrenheit at 8 a.m. local time, according to measurements from the NOAA's National Data Buoy Center. Winds were gusting to 70 mph and the temperature was 12.6 degrees Fahrenheit. The rate of ice accertion, the process of ice building up on solid objects, was more than 15.6 inches an hour, according to the NDBC data.

[Updated at 12:16 p.m. ET] KNOM radio in Nome, Alaska, reports via Twitter that a two-foot diameter log, ice and rocks the size of fists are being blown along Front Street in the town.

[Updated at 11:28 a.m. ET] Major coastal flooding and severe beach erosion is expected along the northern and eastern shores of Norton Sound, the National Weather Service reports. Sea levels are forecast to rise 8 to 10 feet and strong winds may push ice in Norton Bay onshore through Wednesday night, forecasters say.

[Updated at 10:04 a.m. ET] A Twitter user says their mother's house in Kotzebue, Alaska, is shaking so hard in the wind that the woman fell down.

[Updated at 9:53 a.m. ET] The storm is pushing water in to Norton Sound and flooding is anticipated in communities along Alaska's western coast, National Weather Service meteorologist Scott Berg, told CNN Wednesday morning.

Water has moved up to the base of some buildings in Nome and is expected to continue to rise, Berg said. The weather service also has reports of roofs being torn off buildings by high winds in Nome, he said.

The highest gust reported in the storm so far is 89 mph in Wales, Alaska, Berg said.

The weather service has not reported any significant snow accumulation so far, but it has been snowing continuously in some areas since Tuesday, he said.

"When the snow is flying sideways, it's kinda hard to go out and see how much is falling," Berg said.

The center of the storm is pushing northward and will turn to the north-northwest later in the day, he said. Communities including Kivalina and Point Hope will see worsening conditions, according to Berg.

[Updated at 9:34 a.m. ET] The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Hydrometeorological Prediction Center reports the storm is generating waves as high as 40 feet in the Bering Sea. Wind gusts up to 83 mph in Cape Lisburne, Alaska, and 76 mph in Wales, Alaska, the agency said.

[Posted at 6:32 a.m. ET] Early Wednesday, Twitter reports said wind speeds in Nome in northwestern Alaska had reached 100 mph. That would be the equivalent of a category 2 hurricane if it occurred in the tropics. Twitter postings reported structural damage in Nome, including the roof blown off a building. Landline phones were down, according to a Twitter post.

"These things get named hurricanes down south and get a category. It's that magnitude," said Jeff Osiensky, regional warning coordination meteorologist with the National Weather Service, told the Anchorage Daily News. The storm's scope was also hurricane-like, he said, covering 750 to 1,000 miles in breadth.

Chip Leeper, incident commander with the Nome government, told CNN that people in low-lying areas and on along the town's sea wall had been advised to seek shelter elsewhere.

National Weather Service meteorologist Steven Kearney told CNN that Nome could endure sea levels up to 8 feet above normal as well as 10-foot waves.

Other coastal and island villages were preparing evacuations if surf became too high.

Inland, the storm was expected to produce blizzard or near-blizzard conditions across western Alaska, the weather service said. Snow accumulations of up to 14 inches were possible. A Twitter poster reported winds gusts of 50 mph in the inland village of Aniak early Wednesday.

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October 27th, 2011
08:39 AM ET

Hurricane Rina nears Cancun

Hurricane Rina neared some of Mexico's most popular beaches Thursday, sending residents fleeing inland.

The Category 1 hurricane was packing 75 mph winds Thursday morning, but forecasters said it could weaken into a tropical storm later in the day.

Rina is expected to skim the east coast of the Yucatan Peninsula Thursday night and into Friday, forecasters said.

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October 14th, 2011
10:09 AM ET

Small villages devastated by Jova

Hurricane Jova was not as damaging as other storms have been, but for small Mexican villages, it was hardly benign.

Mexican villages who were in Jova's path face a prolonged recovery from the heavy rains and flooding that affected them this week.

The city of Manzanillo on Mexico's Pacific coast bore the brunt of Jova. It was especially hit hard by the fierce rains of the storm. By Friday, the cleanup process was underway and many of the rivers that flooded were receding, but smaller villages are not faring as well.

In the village of Chavarin, on the outskirts of Manzanillo, floodwaters still inundated farmland, homes, roads and highways.

The Mexican Red Cross early Thursday delivered food and sanitary supplies. Each family, provided a blue bracelet for the purpose of receiving aid, waited in a long line to receive two boxes from the aid trucks.

The situation was calm but somber as boxes were placed in the hands of each family in need. The Red Cross distributed aid to some 300 families in the village. The agency would similarly travel to other small villages in the vicinity to provide aid. In all, they had enough supplies for 2,800 families for two weeks.

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October 12th, 2011
11:24 AM ET

Jova weakens to tropical storm over Mexico

[Updated 11:24 a.m. ET] Jova has weakened into a tropical storm over Mexico, the National Hurricane Center said Wednesday.

[Posted 2:09 a.m. ET] Hurricane Jova made landfall on the Pacific coast of Mexico late Tuesday, the National Hurricane Center reported.

The Category 2 storm was packing 100 mph winds as it came ashore in the Mexican state of Jalisco.

Jova, which has been steadily weakening, is expected to lose much of its punch over western Mexico on Wednesday and become a tropical storm.

The storm's center was about 65 miles west-northwest of the resort town of Manzanillo at 2 a.m. ET Wednesday, according to the National Hurricane Center. It was moving north-northeast at 8 mph.

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October 11th, 2011
08:51 AM ET

Jova's outer rainbands reach Mexican coast

Hurricane Jova closed in on Mexico's Pacific coast early Tuesday, a weakening but still powerful Category 3 storm, the National Hurricane Center said.

Jova was about 130 miles southwest of the resort town of Manzanillo at 8 a.m. ET, according to the hurricane center. It was moving north-northeast at about 6 mph, with 115 mph winds.

The outer bands of the hurricane were moving onshore Tuesday morning, the hurricane center said.

"Jova is expected to reach the coast of Mexico near major hurricane strength," the center said. The center of the hurricane will be near the Mexican coast by Tuesday afternoon or evening, it said.

A hurricane warning was in effect from Punta San Telmo north to Cabo Corrientes, near Puerto Vallarta, forecasters said. A tropical storm warning was in effect for Lazaro Cardenas to south of Punta San Telmo and north of Cabo Corrientes to El Roblito.

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October 11th, 2011
12:52 AM ET

Hurricane Jova closes in on western Mexico

Hurricane Jova weakened slightly as the powerful Category 3 storm closed in on Mexico's Pacific coast, packing 120 mph winds.

"The center of the hurricane will be near the coast of Mexico in the hurricane warning area by Tuesday afternoon or evening,' the National Hurricane Center in Miami said.

Jova was about 155 miles southwest of the resort town of Manzanillo at 11 p.m. ET Monday, according to the center. It was moving north-northeast at about 7 mph.

Emergency officials opened shelters as Jova approached.

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October 10th, 2011
09:21 AM ET

Hurricane Jova packs 120 mph winds

Emergency officials scrambled to open shelters as Jova rapidly strengthened off Mexico's Pacific coast early Monday, becoming a major hurricane with 120 mph winds, forecasters said.

Mexican authorities described the storm as a "great danger" and warned that the hurricane could intensify before it makes landfall Tuesday.

The Category 3 storm was about 255 miles southwest of the resort town of Manzanillo at 8 a.m. ET, according to the National Hurricane Center in Miami. It was moving east at about about 6 mph.

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October 9th, 2011
12:50 AM ET

Hurricane Jova expected to intensify as it inches toward Mexico

Jova, the newest hurricane to form in the Pacific Ocean, inched toward western Mexico early Sunday and is expected to intensify over the next two days.

As of 8 p.m. PT Saturday (11 p.m. ET), Jova was about 405 miles (655 kilometers) west-southwest of Manzanillo, Mexico, according to the National Hurricane Center in Miami. It was crawling east about 5 mph (7 kph), and is expected to turn northeast later Sunday.

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October 8th, 2011
10:51 PM ET

New hurricane emerges off Mexico's western coast

A new hurricane emerged Saturday in the eastern Pacific Ocean, prompting the National Hurricane Center to urge those along Mexico's southwestern coast to track its progress as it crept toward shore.

Hurricane Jova had maximum sustained winds of 75 mph as of 2 p.m. PDT (5 p.m. EDT) Saturday, with the Miami-based center predicting it would get even stronger over the next 48 hours.

The storm's eye was located south of Mexico's Baja California and 440 miles (710 kilometers) west-southwest of Manzanillo. It was heading slowly, at 3 mph, to the east-northeast.

Tropical-storm-force winds - measured at 39 mph or stronger - were recorded 90 miles out, the center reported.

No coastal warnings or watches are currently in effect due to the system, though the hurricane center is advising people in the general area to monitor its movement.

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Superdome gets a new name
The Superdome has hosted six Super Bowls, four NCAA Final Four events and three BCS National Championship games.
October 4th, 2011
01:55 PM ET

Superdome gets a new name

The Louisiana Superdome - long a holdout against a wave of deals that renamed stadiums across the country - is being renamed the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in a 10-year agreement between the German vehicle manufacturer and the NFL’s New Orleans Saints.

The Saints, who gained the right to market the dome’s name in a 2009 lease extension with the state of Louisiana, announced the deal this week, and a news conference was scheduled for Tuesday afternoon. Financial terms were not immediately released, but a portion of the proceeds is expected to reduce or eliminate state subsidies for the team, the Saints said in a news release.

The state had agreed in the 2009 lease deal to give the team financial incentives through 2025, according to WVUE. But the state let the Saints market the dome’s name with the understanding that much of the proceeds would replace the state’s direct obligation to the team, The Times-Picayune of New Orleans reported.

“This announcement today means we are gaining the partnership of a world-class company while generating savings for Louisiana taxpayers," Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal said in the Saints’ news release. “This partnership agreement is estimated to significantly reduce or eliminate taxpayer funding currently spent to support the Saints.”

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Gotta Watch: Children coping with tragedy
CNN spoke to children who lost a loved one on 9/11 about their feelings and where they are now.
September 12th, 2011
12:23 PM ET

Gotta Watch: Children coping with tragedy

It was an especially reflective weekend as the United States and much of the world looked back on the lives lost in the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. CNN had a chance to talk to several young people who lost a parent that day. In today's Gotta Watch, we present highlights from those interviews, and look back at how children caught in the middle of another national disaster - Hurricane Katrina - looked at their city two years later.

'Nobody else has lost a parent on national television' - Some of the children who lost a parent on 9/11 say they have little or no memory of that day. Watch here as they talk about life growing without a mother or father, the "nightmare" talk that daddy wasn't coming home and the scrutiny they face as "9/11 kids."

[cnn-video url="http://cnn.com/video/?/video/us/2011/09/09/ex-ac-children-of-911.cnn"%5D

'The lost city' - In February 2007, CNN's Soledad O'Brien handed out video cameras to a group of students who lived through Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. Here, they spoke with director Spike Lee about feelings of being forgotten and what the world didn't see two years after the storm.

[cnn-video url="http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/us/2011/09/12/soledad-spike-nola-kids.cnn"%5D
September 2nd, 2011
11:20 AM ET

Katia becomes hurricane again

The storm named Katia has become a hurricane again in the Atlantic, the National Hurricane Center said Friday.

It had briefly weakened into a tropical storm but has since regained strength, the Center said.

As of 11 a.m. ET, Katia was roughly 700 miles east of the northern Leeward Islands. Its maximum sustained winds were 75 mph - near the minimum level required to be classified as a hurricane.

Katia is continuing to move in a west-northwest direction at about 14 mph.  It is expected to strengthen over the weekend, the Center said.

Potentially dangerous swells created by Katia are expected to begin affecting the Caribbean by late Friday, the Center noted.

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Still without power? Here's what you need to know
Irene damaged power lines in Hampton Bays, New York, and left millions of people without power across the East Coast.
September 1st, 2011
11:58 AM ET

Still without power? Here's what you need to know

More than 1.7 million customers remained without electricity Wednesday from North Carolina to Maine as a result of Irene's wrath, the U.S. Department of Energy said.

As residents who are battling flooding and power outages enter another day without power, concerns about how they can stay connected and what they can eat and drink are becoming more of an issue.

If you haven't prepared a kit or stocked up with the appropriate foods, this is the time when things can start to get a little tricky.

So, what do you need to keep in mind during the power outage?

The big three things to focus on, according to the Red Cross, are your food, any electrical equipment, generators and being aware of carbon monoxide. Here are some tips from the FDA, USDA, CDC and The Red Cross on what to do.

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September 1st, 2011
07:36 AM ET

Thursday's live video events

Hurricane Irene may have come and gone, but the recovery process continues for many.  Watch CNN.com Live for continuing coverage of Irene's aftermath.

Today's programming highlights...

8:00 am ET - Race to 2012: Huntsman in New Hampshire - GOP presidential candidate Jon Huntsman addresses a "politics and eggs" breakfast in Manchester, New Hampshire.

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Filed under: Elections • Hurricane Irene • Hurricanes • Tropical weather
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.”

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