By Circles Robinson
HAVANA TIMES, August 31 — Tropical Storm Katia is on the verge of becoming a hurricane but is still far off in the central Atlantic, reported the Cuban Weather Service (INSMET) at 6:00 p.m. EDT.
Katia currently has 70 mph (110) maximum sustained winds and a minimum pressure of 990 millibars.
Tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 125 miles from the center, said the National Hurricane Center (NHC) in Miami.
Forecast cones of the weather system thus far show it not being expected to touch land anywhere in the Caribbean.
However, neither INSMET nor the NHC are making any predictions beyond next Tuesday when Katia should be churning north-northeast of the far eastern Caribbean islands. By then the NHC sees it packing major hurricane (110 mile plus) winds.
INSMET clocked Katia as moving west-northwest at 20 mph (32 kph). The center was located at 1266 miles (2038 kilometers) east of Antigua, Lesser Antilles.
The Cuban weather experts headquartered in Casablanca, Havana, noted that during the coming 24-48 hours Katia should continue on its same route but slow down its movement speed while gaining in intensity.
The next report on TS Katia from INSMET will come at 6:00 p.m. on Thursday.