Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Katia on the Verge

Tropical Storm Katia is nearing hurricane status this Wednesday morning. It remains a very symmetrical looking storm in the far Eastern Atlantic. Thunderstorm formation continues to build around the center of circulation and the potential is there for further strengthening down the road.

Katia is being pushed west by the Bermuda high and it should stay on this heading through late Thursday. At that time a gradual turn to the Northwest will happen. It should also slow down in forward speed.

So far it has been speeding west at around 20 mph.
We expect it to come down to around 10-15 mph over the next 48 hours.

New wrinkles have popped up this morning.

  • Dry Air: A pocket of dry air ahead of the system may keep Katia in check. Will keep watching it.
  • Wind Shear: While it remains minimal ahead of the storm, some models kick it up over the next few days, enough to have a significant impact on its intensity.

To the right is the latest model runs. They agree that Katia will get pushed northwest by the Bermuda high for about 5 days. By then, it should be within a few hundred miles of the Leeward islands. It could be a major hurricane by then.

In the long run, models also indicate strong upper winds will come out of the East Coast pushing the Bermuda high east. This will open a gap in the atmosphere for Katia to take.

Bermuda should keep their eyes on Katia as they could be facing a very strong hurricane by the middle of next week.

This is the official forecast cone from NHC out 5 days.

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