Infrared (above) and visible (below) satellite images show the large eye of Hurricane Katia well to the South of Bermuda this morning.
As of the 11am EDT National Hurricane Center (NHC) advisory, the center of Katia was located about 500 miles South of Bermuda, and moving toward the Northwest at 13 mph. Maximum sustained winds were estimated at 110 mph, and the minimum central pressure was 28.50 inches of mercury (965 millibars).
Katia is currently a high-end Category 2 hurricane, and additional strengthening is forecast today. If this occurs as expected, Katia is likely to become a major hurricane later today or tonight.
The short-term forecast track of Katia remains unchanged, with a continued Northwestward trajectory expected, along with a slight decrease in forward speed as she grows stronger. This would bring the system out near 30 degrees North / 70 degrees West sometime on Wednesday morning...
It is the forecast beyond midday Wednesday that becomes tricky. As you can see by the image above, the NHC is forecasting Katia to take a Northward turn late Wednesday and into Thursday, and then a Northeastward turn back out to sea by late Thursday into early Friday. While the above forecast would take the most significant threats associated with Katia to the East of the U.S., large swells and rip currents would still be likely along the coast from the Carolinas on Northward beginning early Thursday.
The above forecast is generally right down the middle of the current computer model consensus, which is shown by the "spaghetti" map on the image below:
The turn toward the North and Northeast is expected to take place as Katia approaches 70 degrees West Longitude and comes under the influence of a trough of low pressure across the eastern U.S. This trough, which will be at least partially associated with the remnants of Tropical Storm Lee, is forecast to force Katia to make the "right" turn as the above human and model forecasts depict.
This is the type of trend I've been expecting for the last few days, but with that said, the thing to watch will be the development of the trough and track of the remnants of Lee over the coming few days. If this doesn't materialize as currently expected, then a more Westward track of Katia would not be out of the question.
Regardless, those with interests along the U.S. East Coast from North Carolina on Northward can expect higher waves and dangerous rip currents by mid to late week. Hopefully that will be the only impact that Katia has on the U.S., but we need another day or two just to be sure...
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