Thursday, September 1, 2011

Tropical Update: Katia/TS (to be) Lee

According to the National Hurricane Center, as of 11am, hurricane Katia has max sustained winds of 75 mph. It maintains its Category 1 hurricane status as it continues to move westerly at 18mph.

Projections for the storm have Katia continuing to move west with winds increasing to 115mph with gusts of nearly 140 mph by 8am sunday.

Interestingly enough, if the name 'Katrina' hadn't been retired back in 2006 after the massive 2005 hurricane rocked New Orleans, Katia would be Katrina -- the name Katia replaced Katrina on the 6-year rotating list of names maintained and updated by WMO.

Meanwhile, activity continues to spark the formation of Tropical Storm (to be) Lee in the Gulf of Mexico. Although the storm hasn't gained enough wind speed or organization to be categorized as a tropical storm yet, forecasters say it's likely to happen within the next 24 to 48 hours.

To officially be classified as a Tropical Depression, the organized system of clouds and thunderstorms must have a defined surface circulation and maximum sustained winds of 38 mph or less. Once the winds surpass that level, the storm is upgraded to a Tropical Storm (39-73mph), and finally a hurricane once winds are above 73 mph.

And in addition to all of that, there is a 50% chance of Tropical Cyclone development just north of Bremuda! What an active week. We'll keep you posted :)