In US Storm Katia builds in Caribbean as Irma strikes

As powerful Hurricane Irma tears across the Caribbean towards Florida, a new tropical storm formed in the Gulf of Mexico Wednesday and is threatening to become a hurricane, US weather monitors said.

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The Caribbean region was hunkering down as monster Hurricane Irma slammed into Barbuda as a rare Category Five storm early Wednesday, packing ferocious winds and causing major flooding in low-lying areas play

The Caribbean region was hunkering down as monster Hurricane Irma slammed into Barbuda as a rare Category Five storm early Wednesday, packing ferocious winds and causing major flooding in low-lying areas

(AFP)
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As powerful Hurricane Irma tears across the Caribbean towards Florida, a new tropical storm formed in the Gulf of Mexico Wednesday and is threatening to become a hurricane, US weather monitors said.

Tropical Storm Katia was located off the Mexican coast some 135 miles (215 kilometers) east-southeast of the port of Tampico, the US National Hurricane Center reported.

The storm has maximum sustained winds of 45 miles (75 kilometers) an hour, and is inching towards the east-southeast at a speed of five miles (seven kilometers) per hour, the NHC said in its 1500 GMT bulletin.

"Strengthening is forecast and Katia could become a hurricane before it approaches the (Mexican) coast of Veracruz in a couple of days," the NHC said.

Katia is expected to drop up to 10 inches of rain in the Mexican coastal state of Veracruz, and lesser amounts on the states of Tamaulipas and Puebla through Saturday, though "isolated maximum amounts of 15 inches are possible," the NHC warned.

"This rainfall may cause life-threatening flash floods and mudslides, especially in areas of mountainous terrain," the Miami-based NHC said.

The Caribbean region was hunkering down as monster Hurricane Irma slammed into Barbuda as a rare Category Five storm early Wednesday, packing ferocious winds and causing major flooding in low-lying areas.

Next up is Tropical Storm Jose, which is currently in the Atlantic some 1,135 miles (1,825 kilometers) east of the Lesser Antilles and roaring towards the Caribbean.

Jose is expected to reach hurricane strength later in the day, the NHC said.

The trio of storms closely follow the deadly onslaught by Hurricane Harvey, which drenched the US Gulf Coast with historic rainfall and triggered widespread flooding.

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