Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Tropical storm Katia forms in Atlantic, racies towards North America

Tropical storm Katia has formed in the Atlantic and could reach hurricane intensity by late Wednesday or early Thursday, the U.S. National Hurricane Center says.

Katia is located about 855 kilometres west-southwest of the Cape Verde Islands and moving "quickly west-northwestward across the tropical Atlantic," the Miami-based centre said Tuesday.

The storm's maximum sustained winds were 65 km/h in the morning with higher gusts, and additional strengthening is forecast over the next 48 hours.

CBC meteorologist Johanna Wagstaffe said forecast models indicate the storm could reach hurricane status as it tracks just north of the Caribbean.

The name Katia replaces Katrina in the rotating storm roster because of the catastrophic damage from the 2005 storm that devastated New Orleans.

The new storm comes on the heels of Irene, which hit several U.S. states along the Eastern Seaboard as a hurricane before weakening into a tropical storm as it moved north. more