The National Hurricane Center reported that Hurricane Katia strengthened to a Category 2 storm on Monday and developed a large eye affecting the surf along the East Coast. Katia is now moving northwest at roughly 13 mph about 540 miles south-southeast of Bermuda, the Center said Monday morning.
No coastal watches or warnings are in effect but it is still too soon to know how much a threat Katia will become. Forecasters warned that Bermuda, the Greater Antilles and east-facing beaches of the Bahamas could experience strong surf and rip currents during the next few days.
Katia’s current track shows the storm is moving in the direction of the Carolinas before turning sharply to the northeast on Thursday night.
The NHC issued a small craft advisory from Monday through Saturday along the coast of southeastern Virginia and northeastern North Carolina to 20 nautical miles east.
Katia has sustained winds of 110 mph and is expected to build strength within the next 48 hours. According to the NHC, the category 2-hurricane could become a major hurricane by late Monday.
Craig Fugate, administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, said via Twitter that the hurricane is now forecast to turn away from the East Coast.
Katia quickly approaches as the East Coast continues to clean up areas stricken by Hurricane Irene. According to the New York Times, the damaged caused by Irene could total $10 billion.
President Obama visited northern New Jersey during Labor Day weekend to survey the damage caused by Irene. The president led an entourage of federal, state and local officials and promised residents that budgetary bickering in Washington would not delay federal aid to communities.
“The entire country is behind you,” Obama said. “I want to make it very clear that we are going to meet our federal obligations.”
"The main message that I have for all the residents, not only of New Jersey, but all those communities that have been affected by flooding, by the destruction that occurred as a consequence of hurricane Irene is that the entire country is behind you. And we are going to make sure that we provide all the resources that are necessary in order to help these communities rebuild," the president said.