The National Hurricane Center is monitoring three weather systems including Katia, which reached hurricane strength again early Friday and the newly formed Tropical Storm Lee.
What had been Tropical Depression 13 was upgraded to Tropical Storm Lee in the hurricane center's 2 p.m. advisory. Lee was located about 200 miles southeast of Cameron, Louisiana or 210 miles southwest of the mouth of the Mississippi River. The storm had maximum sustained winds of 40 mph and was moving very slowly, 2 mph, to the northwest.
The storm is projected to hit the Louisiana coast, possibly near New Orleans, either late Saturday or early Sunday with sustained winds of 60 mph.
Forecasters warn that Lee could produce up to 20 inches of rain over southern Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama and generate a storm surge of up to 4 feet above ground level at the coast.
A tropical storm warning has been issued for the Louisiana and Mississippi coasts.
Hurricane Katia, meanwhile, is not expected to strengthen much over the next day because the system remains under attack by wind shear.
However, it is still forecast to intensify to category 3 status with top winds of 115 mph within the next five days – and possibly take aim for the U.S. coast by the middle of next week.
The most recent update for Katia, at 11 a.m., positioned the storm in the Atlantic about 705 miles east of the Leeward Islands, moving northwest at 14 mph with sustained winds of 75 mph.
The projected path continues to keep the system well north of Puerto Rico on Monday and east of the Bahamas on Tuesday.
If that prediction holds, Katia would be about 1,000 miles east ofMiami on Tuesday and about 700 miles east ofDaytona Beach on Wednesday.
From there, the future track curves generally toward the North Florida, Georgia or the Carolinas.
Because long-range forecasts can hold large errors, it still is too soon to say whether the system will hit the U.S. coast. Some models indicate it might turn north and pose a threat to Bermuda or Canada or remain at sea.
The hurricane center also is tracking a low-pressure system in the Atlantic about 460 miles south of Halifax, Canada. At 2 p.m. forecasters noted that shower activity associated with the system had decreased and that winds were becoming unfavorable for developing into a tropical storm. It was being given a 40 percent chance of development over the next two days. The system was moving northeast and likely poses no serious threat to land.