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Katia now Category 2 hurricane; Tropical Storm Lee drenching Gulf Coast

Katia is now a Category 2 hurricane and could be on its way to becoming a stronger one by Monday, PalmBeachPost reports.

Its path, however, remains unlikely to bring anything more than storm-borne swells and rip-current conditions to South Florida as it aims instead for Bermuda and later the Carolinas.

Katia expected to continue in a northwest direction through Tuesday, although its speed may drop. As of 5 p.m., it wasn’t seen as having much chance of landfall with the United States before next weekend. Forecasters say Katia’s eventual interaction with weakening Tropical Storm Lee creates uncertainty in long-term forecasts on Katia’s direction and intensity.

Slow Lee drenches Gulf Coast

Tropical Storm Lee dumped more than a foot of rain in New Orleans and spun off tornadoes elsewhere Sunday as its center came ashore in a slow crawl north that raised fears of inland flash flooding in the Deep South and beyond, USA Today reports.

According to Usa Today, National Hurricane Center specialist Robbie Berg said Lee’s flash flood threat could be more severe as the rain moves from the flatter Gulf region into the rugged Appalachians.

Closer to the Gulf, the water is “just going to sit there a couple of days,” he said. “Up in the Appalachians you get more threat of flash floods — so that’s very similar to some of the stuff we saw in Vermont.”

Vermont is still cleaning up and digging out dozens of communities that were damaged and isolated last week when heavy rain from Tropical Storm Irene quickly flooded mountain rivers.