Interactive: Hurricane Tracker

See current storm data and paths of earlier storms from this season.

msnbc.com news services
updated 9/2/2011 6:18:08 PM ET 2011-09-02T22:18:08

Katia on Friday regained hurricane strength far out in the Atlantic and forecasters say it is expected to continue getting stronger.

At 5 p.m. ET, the storm was about 630 miles east of the Leeward Islands and moving west-northwest at 12 mph with maximum sustained winds Friday of 75 mph, making it a Category 1 hurricane.

Image: Hurricane Katia is seen from the International Space Station in this NASA handout picture
NASA via Reuters
Hurricane Katia is seen from the International Space Station on Aug. 31.

Katia on Thursday had been downgraded to a tropical storm after earlier becoming a Category 1 hurricane.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center said it's too early to tell if Katia will hit the U.S. It is expected to pass north of the Caribbean.

The center earlier cautioned the public — still recovering along parts of the East Coast from Irene — not to stress over the storm yet, even though it's over warm waters and in a low wind shear environment, two ingredients that could propel it to become a major hurricane.

"It's got a lot of ocean to go. There's no way at this point to say if it will make any impacts, let alone when it might make them," said NHC spokesman Dennis Feltgen. "There's a reason we don't do forecasts more than five days in advance — the information just isn't good. The error beyond that just isn't acceptable."

Story: Tropical Storm Lee triggers states of emergency along Gulf

Meanwhile a slow-moving tropical depression is slogging toward the U.S. Gulf coast, packing walloping rains that could drench the region from Louisiana to Alabama with up to 20 inches.

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