Katia to become major hurricane, may hit Atlantic coast

31 August 2011 17:40  [Source: ICIS news]

Possible paths of KatiaHOUSTON (ICIS)--Tropical Storm Katia will likely strengthen into a major hurricane, with wind speeds of at least 111 miles/hour (179km/hour), US forecasters said on Wednesday.

Most models show landfall along the Atlantic coast of either the US or Canada, according to the National Center for Atmospheric Research, a research and developed centre funded mostly by the government. None of the models showed the hurricane going anywhere near the US petrochemical hub on the Gulf of Mexico.

Katia is still far in the Atlantic Ocean, about 1,100 miles (1,765km) west of the Cape Verde Islands, the National Hurricane Center said.

It will likely become a hurricane later in the day, the centre said. By Sunday, it could become a major hurricane.

Even though Katia will come nowhere near the US Gulf, the storm could still disrupt fuel production among the refineries in the northeast part of the country.

Hurricane Irene disrupted refinery operations earlier this week, and gasoline futures surged afterwards.

Overall, Irene likely caused $1.5bn-2.8bn (€1.0bn-1.9bn) in insured losses in the US, with New York, New Jersey and Connecticut contributing about 60% of the total, according to EQECAT a US consultant that specialises in catastrophes.

Insured losses from the Caribbean would bring the total to $1.8bn-3.4bn, EQECAT said.

($1 = €0.69)

By: Al Greenwood
+1 713 525 2645

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