30 August 2011

Tropical Storm Katia forms in far eastern Atlantic

At 09Z today (5am EDT), TD12 was upgraded to TS Katia, the 11th named storm of the season, based on satellite presentation.  The 15Z intensity estimate is 40kts, with a 1003mb central pressure. It's centered near 12N 34W, or roughly 1800 miles east of the Lesser Antilles, and heading WNW at 16kts.

Katia is forecast to intensify fairly quickly, reaching Category 3 status within 5 days as it approaches the Leeward Islands.  The WNW motion is expected to continue, bringing it near 20N 60W by Sunday morning.  In 8-10 days from now (late next week), it could be on a similar track to Irene or perhaps further east over the ocean, so it will of course be watched very closely.  The graphic below shows the forecast intensity and track of the storm, as well as the vertical shear, SST, and RH in the storm's environment (left of the vertical lines is in the past, right of the vertical lines is the forecast... from the various models listed in the legends).  You can find the latest version (and full size) of this at http://rammb.cira.colostate.edu/products/tc_realtime/storm_model_data.asp?storm_identifier=AL122011

Climatologically by this date, we would have 4 named storms, 2 hurricanes, and 0 major hurricanes.  We are currently at 11, 1, and 1.

Elsewhere, there is a very slow-moving easterly wave festering in the western Caribbean that warrants attention.  Many models favor this for development, with a VERY gradual track toward the TX/LA coast; possible Gulf coast landfall in the middle of next week... IF it develops.

Please visit my tropical Atlantic headquarters.

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