Tropical Depression 12 strengthened into tropical storm Katia as daylight broke in the eastern Atlantic this morning. Stunning satellite imagery from the GOES-13 satellite revealed a well-formed tropical storm as the sun's first rays reached it.
The National Hurricane Center named Katia a tropical storm today, August 30, 2011, at 5 a.m. EDT. As newborn Katia speeds west-northwest the current track projects it moving north of the Leeward Islands on the weekend. Because wind shear is light and sea surface temperatures are warm in the area where Katia is headed, the National Hurricane Center forecasts strengthening into a hurricane.
When NOAA's Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite, GOES-13 passed over Katia on August 30, just after daylight reached it in the Atlantic, it revealed a well-developed storm. NASA's GOES Project, located at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. created a stunning image from GOES-13 that shows daylight breaking in the eastern Atlantic over Katia, while the U.S. is still dark.
On August 30, at 5 a.m. EDT, Katia's maximum sustained winds were near 40 mph. Additional strengthening is forecast by the National Hurricane Center. Katia is currently a compact tropical storm, only 70 miles in diameter, compared with Irene that was as large as 600 miles in diameter.
Katia was located near latitude 11.8 North and longitude 31.7 West and moving west-northwest near 17 mph (28 kmh). It is expected to continue in this direction for the next two days and speed up. Katia's estimated minimum central pressure is 1006 millibars.
Explore further: Depth, distance reduce impact of California quake