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Submitted by Tim Buckley on Tue, 08/30/2011 - 8:51am.
Sometimes half the battle with hurricanes is pronouncing the names correctly! Sure enough, when our TD was upgraded to Katia this morning the first thing I did when go ahead and look up the pronounciation. As it turns out, it's Russian: Kah-tee-ya. Now that we've got that settled out, the tougher question is where does our latest tropical critter go - and do we need to care?
Another Cape Verde Storm
First thing I like to do when I'm tracking storms is pay close attention to where they form. The "birthplace" of a system can actually give you a lot of clues and indications as to where the storm will end up in the long run. If you look at the historic tracks of hurricanes born in a certain area, you'll often find they have similar tracks.
Head over to this wepage if you want to see where storms that have struck Wilmington in the past have formed: http://www.csc.noaa.gov/hurricanes/
In this case, Katia has been born extremely far out to sea - just west of the Cape Verde islands. These Cape Verde storms don't often bode well for us in the Carolinas. As any seasoned hurricane veteran knows, these storms have the longest time to suck up fuel and strengthen before sometimes striking the East Coast.
Many of our biggest storms (Fran, Donna, & Bertha) formed within a few degrees of where Katia has started. This isn't to say Katia will hit us, but it gives you an idea of what kind of storms are born out this way. As a rule of thumb, the farther east a storm is born - the stronger it will eventually be. Katia will become a big one!
Where will she go?
Here's the most important number this morning when tracking where Katia will go - 3,500. That's how many miles the storm is from Wilmington Tuesday morning. Simply put -- we're still about 10 days away from this storm being anywhere close to the US, so we can't really say where she'll go for sure. But we can try and sort out some possibilities. Here's what I think about the standard Gulf/Caribbean/East Coast/OuttoSea chances in order of least likely.
The Waiting Game
For now, all we can do is wait and see how the storm and the global pattern develops. We're not going to find out too much more in the next 4-5 days. Expect Katia to continue heading west, getting stronger into a big 'cane by the weekend. Next week, we'll deal much more with exactly where she'll end up and if our initial thoughts are correct.
So this week will be the quiet one, then next week we'll be in storm-track mode. Just another September across the Carolinas!
That's all for now. Enjoy the fall-like temps!
Don't forget to 'like' my page on Facebook for more weather updates: www.facebook.com/MeteorologistTimBuckley
By: Tim Buckley