Tropical Storm Katia close to hurricane strength: NHC
Tropical Storm Katia strengthens in the Atlantic and is expected to become a category one hurricane later today, the National Hurricane Centre (NHC) said.
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Wednesday August 31, 2011 - In the 5 p.m. National Hurricane Centre (NHC) advisory Tropical Storm Katia continued to strengthen with maximum sustained winds increasing to near 70 MPH.
"Katia is moving toward the west-northwest near 20 MPH however a gradual slowing of forward speed is expected in the next 48 hours" according to the latest NHC report.
At 5 p.m. eastern time Tropical Storm Katia was located near latitude 14.6 north longitude 42.6 west or 1285 miles east of the Leeward Islands.
According to the NHC report "tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 125 miles from the centre."
It has been predicted that Katia will be a Category 3 hurricane – with maximum sustained winds of at least 111 miles per hour – northeast of the northern Leeward Islands by Sunday, but the NHC said its path is not certain.
Katia is the 11th named storm of the 2011 Atlantic Hurricane Season. Track Katia in the Storm Centre.