Added by Erik West on September 2, 2011
Tropical depression Katia, currently located in the Atlantic, regained hurricane strength just as tropical strom Lee formed off the cost of Louisiana on Friday.
Tropical depression Katia was classified as a category one hurricane on at 15:00 GMT/UTC with winds reaching 120 kph. A five day model indicates that the storm will remain in the open waters of the Atlantic but will continue on a path that could bring it close to the US east coast.
Meanwhile Tropical depression 13 was formally named Tropical Storm Lee and is currently expected to make landfall on the Louisiana coast early Sunday morning, and may linger in the region through the US Labor day weekend. A tropical storm warning is in effect for Pascagoula Mississippi westward to Sabine Pass Texas, including the City of New Orleans, Lake Pontchartrain, and Lake Maurepas.
Hurricane Irene’s damage estimates are currently at between US$7bn and US$10bn, with expectations that it could top $20bn and rank it among the top ten costliest US weather disasters.
A typical US hurricane season has about 10 named storms each year, however September 10 marks the halfway point in the US hurricane season that has already experienced 12 named storms. Assuming the pace keeps up, the 2011 hurricane season could come close to, or perhaps surpass, the historic 2005 hurricane season which saw a total of 28 storms.