Tropical Storm Katia may grow into a hurricane in the next two days as it moves west-northwest through the mid-Atlantic Ocean, according to the National Hurricane Center in Miami.
Katia is the 11th named storm of this Atlantic hurricane season, which runs from June 1 to Nov. 30. The average hurricane season usually produces that total, according to the hurricane center.
The storm had maximum sustained winds late Tuesday morning near 45 miles per hour, and the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami said gradual strengthening is forecast. Katia is expected to be near hurricane strength by late Wednesday or early Thursday, as the second official hurricane of the 2011 Atlantic season.
Forecasts show Katia could become a major hurricane by the weekend.
On Tuesday, Katia was centered about 630 miles west-southwest of the southernmost Cape Verde Islands, moving west-northwest at 18 miles per hour. Katia's storm name replaces Katrina in the rotating storm roster because of the catastrophic damage from the 2005 storm which ravaged the U.S. Gulf Coast, causing catastrophic flooding in New Orleans and virtually destroying the Mississippi coastline.
Tropical Storm Katia is expected to become a hurricane by late Wednesday or early Thursday, the National Hurricane Center says.
Katia is the storm name that replaced Katrina in the revolving list of names, according to the hurricane center.