Tropical Storm Katia gains strength in Atlantic - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Tropical Storm Katia gains strength in Atlantic

Tropical Storm Katia formed early Tuesday morning and has been slowly strengthening as it moves across the Atlantic.

Katia had maximum sustained winds late Tuesday morning near 45 mph.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami said gradual strengthening is forecast and Katia is expected to be near hurricane strength by late Wednesday or early Thursday.

The storm's forecast track showed it could become a major hurricane over the weekend.

Katia was centered about 630 miles west-southwest of the southernmost Cape Verde Islands and was moving west-northwest at 18 mph.

Hurricane specialist Michael Brennan said Katia could affect the Caribbean, but it's too early to tell if it will hit the U.S.

The storm's name replaces Katrina in the rotating storm roster because of the catastrophic damage from the 2005 storm.

Click here to track Katia

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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