Business, Finance & Economics

Hurricane Katia downgraded to Category 3

Hurricane Katia has weakened to a Category 3 storm as it moves across the Atlantic Ocean in the destructive wake of Irene.

At 5 a.m. Tuesday, Katia — the second hurricane of the June-through-November Atlantic season — was about 400 miles south of Bermuda according to the Miami-based National Hurricane Center, with winds of 125 miles per hour. 

The Daily Telegraph cites experts as saying that Katia may veer away from the East Coast later this week, although it could result in dangerous surf conditions and currents off the eastern seaboard.

KTVU quoted Todd Kimberlain, a forecaster at the National Hurricane Center, as saying:

"Eventually the hurricane is going to turn towards the north and northeast away from the U.S. coast. We are becoming more confident of that. There might be 10 to 12 foot breakers. These swells will affect much of the eastern seaboard of the United States and then down into the Bahamas."

According to the Daily Mail, insurers worldwide have suffered losses of more than $70 billion this year, with Hurricane Irene costing up to $6 billion in the United States, mainly die to flooding in New Jersey and Vermont. Irene was also blamed for at least 40 deaths.

Tropical Storm Lee brought more torrential rain to the East Coast — testing New Orleans' flood barriers, according to Reuters — and was blamed for worsening the effect of devastating fires in Texas.

(GlobalPost reports: Bastrop county burns as Rick Perry calls for more federal aid)

Reuters reports that:

Forecasters have predicted a very active 2011 Atlantic season with between eight and 10 hurricanes, above the long-term June to November average of six to seven hurricanes.