Katia Becomes a Category 3 Hurricane, September 5, 2011 (UPDATE 5 PM AST)

Miami, Florida—(ENEWSPF)—September 5, 2011 – UPDATE 5 PM AST.  The National Hurricane Center is reporting that Katia has become a major hurricane.  The biggest threat continues to be dangerous rip currents along the U.S. East Coast and Bermuda.

While there are no coast Watches or Warnings in effect, interest in Bermuda should monitor the progress of Katia.

Discussion and 48-Hour Outlook

At 5 PM AST (2100 UTC), the center of Hurricane Katia was located near latitude 25.2 north, longitude 63.9 west.  Katia is moving toward the northwest near 12 mph (19 km/h) and this general motion with a slight decrease in forward speed is expected through Wednesday.

Maximum sustained winds have increased to near 115 mph (185 km/h) with higher gusts.  Katia is a Category Three Hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale.  Some additional strengthening is forecast through Tuesday followed by little change in strength on Wednesday.

Hurricane Force Winds extend outward up to 60 miles (95 km)from the center, and Tropical Storm Force Winds extend outward up to 205 miles (335 km).

Estimated minimum central pressure is 959 mb (28.32 inches).

Hazards Affecting Land

Large swells generated by Katia are expected to affect most of the east coast of the United States, Bermuda, the Greater Antilles, and east-facing beaches of the Bahamas during the next few days. These swells are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions.  Swells affecting the northern Leeward Islands should continue to subside today.  Please consult products from your Local Weather Service Office for additional information.

Surface Wind Field

Click image to zoom in [Image of initial wind radii]

About this product:

This graphic shows the areas potentially being affected by the sustained winds of tropical storm force (in orange) and hurricane force (in red). The display is based on the wind radii contained in the latest Forecast/Advisory (indicated at the top of the figure). Users are reminded that the Forecast/Advisory wind radii represent the maximum possible extent of a given wind speed within particular quadrants around the tropical cyclone. As a result, not all locations falling within the orange or red shaded areas will be experiencing sustained tropical storm or hurricane force winds, respectively.

In addition to the wind field, this graphic shows an approximate representation of coastal areas under a hurricane warning (red), hurricane watch (pink), tropical storm warning (blue) and tropical storm watch (yellow). The white dot indicates the current position of the center of the tropical cyclone, and the dashed line shows the history of the center of the tropical cyclone. 

Source: nhc.noaa.gov