Katia had maximum sustained winds of 135 miles (215 kilometers) per hour, according to an advisory at 11 p.m. New York time yesterday. The system was about 450 miles south of Bermuda traveling northwest at 10 mph.
The storm continues to move northwest around the edge of a subtropical high, but is forecast to turn north, then northeast well before reaching the coast of the U.S. At this time, the only forecast impacts are high surf warnings and a chance of dangerous rip currents along exposed shorelines.
Some fluctuations in strength are expected during the next 24 hours, followed by a slow weakening, the National Hurricane Center said.
“Satellite images indicate that Katia has strengthened considerably during the past several hours,” Channel 6 News reported, quoting John Cangialosi, a hurricane specialist at the center. “Fluctuations in the intensity of Katia are likely during the next 12 to 24 hours, perhaps due to eyewall replacement cycles, as the major hurricane remains in a favorable environment.”
“Hurricane is expected to move between the East Coast and Bermuda before turning east and tracking out to sea by next weekend,” forecasters said.
By Thursday, when the storm is expected to swing north, winds are forecast to be about 105 mph. By next weekend, the storm is expected to be an extra-tropical cyclone, embedded in the westerlies and heading toward northwestern Europe.
Hurricane force winds extend out about 60 miles from the center of the storm and tropical storm force winds about 200 miles, according to the National Hurricane Center. The storm’s northwestward movement is forecast to continue for about 36 hours, with a turn toward the north in about 48 to 72 hours as the storm is pickup by the southerly flow between the subtropical ridge and a cutoff low over the eastern U.S.
“Florida has no direct threat from Katia but people along the East Coast should beware of a potential from rough ocean conditions and a high rip current risk due to the swells created by Katia,” Florida emergency management officials said.
Katia’s path is similar to Earl, which sent high waves to the East Coast in 2010 but didn’t make a direct strike on land.
Katia became the 11th named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season which runs from June 1 to Nov. 30. Irene became the first to reach hurricane strength, before ravaging a path up the East Coast last week, and power remains out in some areas and the cleanup may take weeks, if not months for some.
Parts of the U.S. East Coast are still drying from Hurricane Irene, which made landfall on Aug. 27, leaving 45 people dead from North Carolina to Maine and cutting power to 6.69 million homes and businesses.
Meanwhile, forecasters are watching a new tropical wave southwest of the Cape Verde islands that is already starting to show some signs of organization and could become Tropical Depression 14 in the next day or so, and has a high chance of becoming tropical storm Maria in the next 48 hours, according to hurricane center. [via Summit County Voice, International Business Times and Bloomberg]