Steady gaining organization, Tropical Storm Katia likely will strengthen into hurricane on Wednesday. It is forecast to intensify to category 3 status with top winds of 120 mph within the next five days.
The good news: The projected path continues to suggest the system will aim north before reaching the U.S. coastline, although Bermuda could be imperiled.
At 11 a.m. on Wednesday, Katia was about 1,100 miles west of the Cape Verde Islands, racing west at 21 mph with sustained winds of 65 mph. That is 9 mph short of hurricane strength.
The system is forecast to angle northwest over the next five days and arrive well north of the Lesser Antilles on Monday. From there, models indicate it will continue curving out to sea, although long-range forecasts can hold large errors.
Katia is expected to make a right turn because high pressure above its course is forecast to weaken and provide a path to the north.
There is some question as to whether Katia will strengthen as much as forecast because of dry air invading its center, said senior hurricane specialist Jack Beven of the National Hurricane Center.
The hurricane center also is monitoring a disturbance in the northwest Caribbean, for now giving it a low chance of developing. The system is moving northwest at 10 to 15.
After crossing Mexico’s Yucatan, there is some potential for the disturbance to strengthen in the Gulf of Mexico.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun