Tropical storm officially becomes Hurricane Katia

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The ever-busy weather watchers at the National Hurricane Center said it was likely. And they were right.

On Wednesday night, the center announced that Tropical Storm Katia, swirling in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, had officially become the second named hurricane of the season. It follows right on the heels of Hurricane Irene.


In an advisory, the center described Katia as a Category 1 hurricane and said, “Additional strengthening is forecast during the next 48 hours and Katia could become a major hurricane by the weekend.”

It’s too soon, however, to predict just where Katia might land, or if it will make landfall at all.

Late Wednesday night, it was about 1,100 miles east of the Leeward Islands. Those are the islands, such as Antigua, Montserrat and St. Kitts, that arc from east of Puerto Rico down to South America. Hurricane Katia had maximum sustained winds of 75 mph and was traveling west-northwest at about 20 mph.

The name Katia, incidentally, replaces a more familiar “K” name –- Katrina. The World Meteorological Organization has rotating lists of storm names and deletes those of particularly deadly hurricanes. Katrina was taken off the list after that hurricane devastated New Orleans and other parts of the South in 2005.


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-- Steve Padilla