Tropical Storm Katia May Grow Into Atlantic Hurricane Today

Tropical Storm Katia may be declared a hurricane today, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center said.

Katia, about 1,100 miles (1,770 kilometers) from the southernmost Cape Verde Islands, has 65-mph winds and is speeding west-northwest at 21 mph, the NHC said in an advisory at about 10:40 a.m. East Coast time. A tropical storm becomes a hurricane when its winds reach 74 mph. Katia’s winds increased 20 mph yesterday.

The storm is moving on a path that will take it to waters northeast of Puerto Rico on Sept. 4, according to an NHC projection. By that time, it may reach the 111-mph threshold for a major hurricane, the NHC said.

Katia is the 11th named storm of this Atlantic hurricane season, which runs from June 1 to Nov. 30. The NHC says the average hurricane season usually produces that many in total.

A large weather system over the northwest Caribbean has a 30 percent chance of organizing into a tropical system in the next two days, according to the hurricane center. There is “some potential” for the for the system to develop over the central or western Gulf of Mexico by week’s end, the center said in an advisory shortly before 2 p.m. Eastern time.

Gulf Threat

“While plenty of pieces still need to fall into place, there is a clear risk to oil and gas production evolving within the Gulf of Mexico,” Bob Haas, weather operations manager and meteorologist at MDA EarthSat Weather of Gaithersburg, Maryland, said in an e-mailed statement today. “An intense storm with long-lasting impacts does not appear to be in the cards.”

The Gulf is home to 31 percent of U.S. oil output and 7 percent of natural gas production.

In the Pacific off Mexico, a tropical depression formed today south of the resort of Zihuatanejo and moved ashore a few hours later. A tropical storm watch was issued for an area from Zihuatanejo to Punta San Telmo.

The system is forecast to dissipate by tomorrow and then return to the ocean. It probably won’t be able to regenerate, the center said.

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