The U.S. has likely escaped Hurricane Katia's path, but in this busy Atlantic Hurricane Season 2011 current models show the East Coast is at much higher risk from at least two more developing systems through mid-September.
The next two names on the list of tropical cyclones are Maria and Nate, and each is potentially developing already and models show each has a shot at impacting the U.S.
One system expected to crank up over the southwestern Gulf of Mexico this week has similarities to Tropical Storm Lee, which drenched the eastern U.S. in the past week and sparked wildfires in Texas with increased winds amid drought conditions. That developing system could move northeasterly by the weekend and into next week, threatening the U.S.
Another system also deserves close watching, as Tropical Depression 14 is farther west than Katia currently but steering upper level wind flow could bring that system close to or over the southern Atlantic coast by mid to late September.
One or both of the systems has a window of opportunity to reach the Eastern U.S., Accuweather Hurricane and Tropical Weather Coordinator Dan Kottlowski said in a report at the weather service's website.
The risk of both storms possibly impacting the U.S. at once after drenching rains from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee poses risk for new flooding in saturated areas by mid-September. Both developing systems could make direct hits on the U.S., becoming significant rainmakers, forecasters say.
Katia, however, is expected to turn well east of the Atlantic seabord, and leave the U.S. unmolested -- for the moment.
A turn toward the north-northwest is expected later today, followed by a turn toward the north and then the north-northeast with an increase in forward speed late Thursday and early Friday, the National Hurricane Center projected Wednesday.
The storm was located 310 miles southwest of Bermuda Wednesday, packing winds of 90 miles per hour as a Category 1 storm, the NHC said.