When Will Tropical Storm Katia Hit? Mexico May Be Its First Target
This is an unusual hurricane season, to say the least. First there were the unprecedentedly strong storms, and now there are no less than three named storms swirling around the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. The third of these is Tropical Storm Katia, which will probably hit Mexico this weekend.
Katia, which became the 11th storm named this season, strengthened from a tropical depression on Wednesday morning to become a tropical storm, with wind speeds of up to 40 mph. Instead of forming in the east Atlantic near the African coast — like Hurricane Irma and Tropical Storm José did — Katia formed in the southwestern Gulf of Mexico, and as such only presents a threat to the east coast of Mexico.
Thankfully, Katia does not seem likely to become as powerful as Harvey, Irma, or even José have been. However, it could still bring heavy rain and potential mudslides in the mountainous areas of Mexico where it is expected to hit. While it's still too early to predict much about Katia's exact path, it's likely that it will bring heavy rains, gusts of wind, and a rough surf to the east coast of Mexico, particularly near the coastal cities of Veracruz and Tampico.
At the moment, it looks like Katia will hit Mexico's southeastern coast on Friday or Saturday and then begin moving across the country towards the Pacific Ocean and gradually losing steam. There could be localized flooding, but Katia certainly isn't packing the same sort of punch that Harvey brought with it to the Houston area. And even though Katia is in the Gulf of Mexico, it is not expected to cause any additional problems for the areas of Texas and Louisiana that have barely started recovering from Harvey's onslaught.
There are no hurricane watches or warnings currently in effect for Katia, but that could change as the storm strengthens. The far more damaging storm this weekend is going to be Hurricane Irma, the Category 5 monster storm currently barreling its way through the Caribbean. Residents of the Mexican states of Tamaulipas and Veracruz should watch out for potential flooding conditions, but they fortunately won't be facing anything like the 185 mph sustained winds that Irma brings with it.
Even though Katia is only a tropical storm right now, its mere presence attests to the unusual and serious nature of the 2017 hurricane season. If you grew up in a region often hit by hurricanes, you know that three named storms at a time is in no way normal. However, if climate scientists' predictions hold, more frequent severe storms could become the new normal. Katia may not be as strong as Irma, and Tropical Storm José has a bigger chance to become a hurricane than Katia does, but people in the areas likely to be affected should still treat it as a severe weather event.