The National Hurricane Center upgraded Katia to category one hurricane at 11 p.m. on Wednesday, August 31, and as 5 a.m. Thursday, the center of this system was located near 15.2 north and 45.9 west and moving westward at 20 miles per hour.
Hurricane Katia is expected to track toward the west-northwest and to decrease in forward speed during the next couple of days.
This system is packing maximum sustained winds near 75 miles per hour with higher gusts and Katia was projected to become a major hurricane by the weekend.
Currently hurricane force winds extend outward up to 25 miles from the center and tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 125 miles.
According to the National Weather Service, Hurricane Katia shifted slightly to the left overnight but still remains with the cone. Its closest approach to the Virgin Islands is forecasted at approximately 370 miles to the northeast on Monday afternoon, likely as a major hurricane.
Because the system is still days away from reaching the region, the error for tracking is at about 287 miles. However, even with the margin for error, Hurricane Katia is still expected to remain a safe distance away from the Virgin Islands, National Weather Service meteorologist Luis Rosa said.
The National Weather Service anticipates that the Virgin Islands will experience dangerous surf conditions and that small craft and high surf advisories may be issued beginning on Saturday, September 3, through Monday, September 5.
“We are continuing to advise the community, especially mariners and those expected to head to the beach for the Labor Day weekend, to continue to monitor this system,” VITEMA Director Elton Lewis said last week. “Be mindful that dangerous surf conditions are anticipated for the Virgin Islands and the National Weather Service is expecting that advisories may be issued as early as Saturday and continuing through Monday.”
“Stay tuned to local radio and TV for advisories and monitor VI Alert,” said Lewis.
VITEMA will continue to update the public as more information becomes available.