Tropical Storm Katia Could Become Hurricane Wednesday

Posted August 31st, 2011 at 9:05 am (UTC-5)
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Tropical Storm Katia — the next significant Atlantic storm of the season — could become a hurricane on Wednesday, even as vast clean-up efforts continue in the eastern United States after Hurricane Irene.

Katia slowed Wednesday morning as it moved west across the Atlantic Ocean at 33 kilometers per hour. Katia's top winds already have been recorded at 100 kilometers per hour and the storm is gradually strengthening. There are no coastal watches or warnings in effect at this time.

The National Hurricane Center says it is too early to predict a path for the Atlantic's 11th named storm. Forecasters believe Katia will become a Category One storm on a five-point scale and will approach the Caribbean's Leeward Islands by Sunday.

The beginning of September is normally the peak of the hurricane season. Experts predict an active 2011 hurricane season with eight to 10 hurricanes possible, which would be slightly more than normal.

As Hurricane Irene buffeted the eastern U.S. seaboard at the end of last week, Tropical Storm Jose sped past the western shores of Bermuda before heading out into the open Atlantic.