9/1/11 (AEIN) Tropical Storm Katia became Hurricane Katia overnight as its wind speeds picked up and the storm continued to travel west across the Atlantic Ocean. Katia could begin to affect inhabited lands by Friday, although no warnings or watches have been issued so far.
As of late Thursday morning, the storm boasted sustained wind speeds of 75 miles (120 km) per hour with stronger gusts. It was centered approximately 1,050 miles (1,685 km) east of the northern Leeward Islands, according to an advisory from the National Hurricane Center.
Forecasters expect Hurricane Katia to become stronger Thursday and Friday. Currently a Category One storm, it may attain major hurricane status by Saturday. The Lesser Antilles will encounter waves from Katia by Friday night, possibly triggering dangerous rip currents.
The northern Leeward Islands include Anguilla, Antigua, Barbuda and the Virgin Islands. The Lesser Antilles consist of several relatively small islands in the eastern Caribbean Sea, including St. Kitts, Nevis and the British territory of Montserrat.