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Tropical Storm Katia grows, expected to become hurricane

August 30, 2011 |  1:11 pm

Tropical Storm Katia

Only days after Hurricane Irene pummeled the Eastern Seaboard, forecasters have begun tracking a new tropical storm making its way toward the United States.

Tropical Storm Katia is expected to become a hurricane by Thursday as it continues its northwest trek through the mid-Atlantic Ocean. Its current track and intensity suggest that it could become a Category 3 hurricane in about five days, according to the National Hurricane Center in Miami.

The storm was about 630 miles west-southwest of the Cape Verde Islands on Tuesday morning, traveling at about 18 mph and with sustained winds as high as 45 mph, hurricane center spokesman Dennis Feltgen said in an interview with The Times.

As Katia continues to grow, forecasters will be watching carefully for signs of a drift toward the North Atlantic, a movement meteorologists refer to as "recurving." Should the storm take that path, it would likely miss the United States, Feltgen said.

"But it's too far out to know the where, when and how," he said.

Tropical weather systems develop frequently this time of year, usually every few days. "That's what happens in the heart of the hurricane season," Feltgen said.

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-- Stephen Ceasar

Photo: A satellite image shows Tropical Storm Katia forming in the Atlantic Ocean on Tuesday. Credit:  National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration via Getty Images

 

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