More action in the tropics
As if we didn'ty have enough to contend with after Irene, and with more rain and flooding from what remains of Lee, the tropical Atlantic continues to gin up more storms.
Hurricane Katia continues to spin its way across the Atlantic. Tropical Storm Maria formed east of the Antilles just this (Wednesday) morning, and another tropical wave seems likely to become a problem in the Gulf of Mexico (or possibly a desperately-needed rain-maker for Texas).
Katia was reported about 320 miles southwest of Bermuda, with top sustained winds of 85 mph. It was moving to the northwest at 10 mph. Hurricane forecastyers said they expected the storm would curve to the north and later tothe north-northeast by late Thursday. That would take Katia between the Carolina coast and Bermuda by Thiursday without a landfall at either place.
It is already affecting the beaches, however, with dangerous surf and riptides. High Riptide Risk notices are posted from Duck, N.C. to the Maryland/Delaware border. Waves are forecast to reach 4 to 6 feet today.
Tropical Storm Maria formed this morning about 1,300 miles east of the Lesser Antilles. It was packing sustained winds of 50 mph, moving to the west at a brisk 23 mph. Forecasters said some stregnthening is expected in the next two days. The forecast storm track looks much like Irene's for the moment.
Finally, forecasters are watching the next potential tropical storm, now located in the southwestern Gulf of Mexico. It is given a 60 percent chance of reaching tropical storm strength in the next 48 hours, and earning the name Nate. It's close enough to the Texas coast to raise hopes that it might throw some badly needed rain toward the Lone Star State, which is suffering through an historic drought and terrible wildfires.