UPDATE SEPTEMBER 5, 2011. 5:30 EDT (21:30 UTC). We know many on the U.S. East Coast are nervous about Hurricane Katia. Here is some possibly good news. It is beginning to look as if Hurricane Katia – which is still out in the Atlantic Ocean – will veer away from U.S. shores.
However, Katia could become a major hurricane tonight or tomorrow. Katia now has sustained winds of 110 miles per hour (mph) and is moving northwest at 13 mph. Katia has had less wind shear to interact with, which is why the storm is gradually getting stronger and becoming better organized.
Katia will likely be influenced by a trough – an elongated region of relatively low atmospheric pressure – across the eastern United States. This region of low pressure will help steer Katia away from the U.S. A lot of the models agree on this scenario, so confidence is building. Here is what the spaghetti models look like regarding Katia:
I think there is a chance that Katia could push further west and scare a few people, but ultimately, Katia will not directly hit the United States coast. Surf and rip currents will be an issue toward the end of the week.
I’ll have a more in-depth update soon.
Bottom line: Hurricane Katia is building strength, but it does not appear now as if it will head toward the U.S.
Matt Daniel is weekend Meteorologist for 13WMAZ (CBS) in Macon, Georgia, and founder of the blog Athens GA Weather. He's a self-described "big weather and music geek" and has produced weather content for CNN, MSN Weather and EarthSky. He has a passion for helping to keep people safe when severe weather strikes and says if you don't have a NOAA Weather Radio ... you should get one.