Hurricane Katia strengthens to Category 4
The National Hurricane Center warned, however, that most of the Eastern Seaboard -- battered by Irene last week -- is expected to be hit with large swells that could cause life-threatening surf and rip currents.
Churning about 450 miles south of Bermuda, Katia's sustained winds reached reached 135 mph and the hurricane was moving northwest at about 10 mph.
The center forecast that Katia may fluctuate in strength in the next 24 hours before slowly weakening.
Hurricane specialist Robbie Berg told Reuters the greatest threat to the U.S. would likely be the dangerous coastal surf.
“Even though these storms may stay offshore, they still can be a deadly threat, especially to people going to the beach,” Berg said. “It may be a beautiful nice day out and you may just not know that there are rip currents there that can pull you out to sea.”
View Forecast paths of Hurricane Katia in a larger map
--Stephanie Chavez in Los Angeles
Photo: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) handout image shows a view of Hurricane Katia captured by satellite on September 6. / Reuters/ NOAA Environmental Visualization Laboratory