Tropical Storm Katia Intensifies, Could Become Major Hurricane

has picked up speed during its trek over the Atlantic Ocean and may become a hurricane later Wednesday, the National Hurricane Center in Miami said.

As of the 5am advisory, Katia was estimated to have maximum sustained winds of 65 miles per hour and was moving 21 mph west-northwestward from its location about 985 miles west of the southernmost Cape Verde Islands.

A NHC forecast shows that Katia is expected to remain on its current path, gradually decreasing in forward speed during the next two days.

While Katia is not expected to affect any land areas for at least 5 days, experts said that the tropical storm may become a hurricane within 36 to 48 hours as it strengthens while moving over warm water.

The NHC added that after becoming a hurricane, Katia may reach major Category 3 intensity within five days.

Katia, following on the heels of Irene, which battered the U.S. over the weekend, is the 11th named storm of 2011 in the Atlantic hurricane season, which ends Novevember 30th.

As of this posting, no coastal watches or warnings are in effect.

via MSN