Is Katia next major hurricane?

Tropical Storm Katia could develop into a major hurricane off Puerto Rico by Sunday, according to a map from the National Hurricane Center (bottom). The map of projected paths is from Weather Underground (wunderground.com). (Click to enlarge.)
Tropical Storm Katia could develop into a major hurricane off Puerto Rico by Sunday, according to a map from the National Hurricane Center (bottom). The map of projected paths is from Weather Underground (wunderground.com). (Click to enlarge.)
Posted: August 30, 2011

Jose fizzled out Monday after becoming a tropical storm.

Now comes Katia, heading toward the Caribbean from halfway between Africa and South America.

It's estimated to become a hurricane by late Wednesday or early Thursday and a major Category 3 storm by Sunday morning, when it's projected to be east-northeast of Puerto Rico, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Computer models suggest it could continue on a northerly path toward the East Coast, but stop predicting a thousand miles from the Carolinas.

The history of hurricanes on a similar track runs the gamut from hitting the coast to curving well out to sea.

This hurricane season is well ahead of the average storm-spawning pace. The average season, which lasts until November, has about a dozen named storms. Katia is already No. 11.

An average season has six hurricanes, two of which reach major Category 2 status with sustained winds of more than 110 m.p.h.

Irene, the only hurricane so far this season, reached Category 3 on its way to North Carolina, but weakened to a Category 1 before making landfall.

The rest of the names on this year's list are Lee, Maria, Nate, Ophelia, Philippe, Rina, Sean, Tammy, Vince and Whitney.


Contact staff writer Peter Mucha at 215-854-4342 or pmucha@phillynews.com.

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