Katia strengthened to a Category 3 hurricane from Category 2, with maximum sustained winds of 115 miles (185 kilometers) per hour, the National Hurricane Center said.
The storm is located 495 miles south of Bermuda and moving northwest at 12 miles per hour, the center said in an advisory at about 4:40 p.m. Eastern time. Additional strengthening is forecast through tomorrow, followed by little change in strength on Sept. 7. No coastal watches or warnings were issued.
Another weather system, Lee, weakened today to a depression from a tropical storm, the hurricane center said in its final advisory on the storm at 11 a.m. Lee was about 40 miles (65 kilometers) north-northeast of New Orleans, with remnants moving east-northeast at 14 miles per hour.
About 61 percent of oil production and 46 percent of natural gas output in the Gulf of Mexico has been shut in due to the storm, according to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement.
About 858,935 barrels of oil per day have been curtailed, the bureau said today on its website. About 2.44 billion cubic feet of gas per day have been shut in.
Crews are restoring production in the Gulf, David Eglinton, a spokesman for Irving, Texas-based Exxon Mobil Corp. said today in an e-mail. Chevron Corp. has begun to redeploy workers in the region, according to a company statement posted online today.
BP Plc said in a phone message that it will return workers to platforms and rigs in the Gulf early tomorrow.