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Hurricane Katia moves by East Coast; tropical storms Maria and Nate churn nearby

As Hurricane Katia makes its way past the East Coast Thursday, forecasters continued to eye two other named storms churning in nearby waters that might approach the United States in coming days: Maria and Nate.

It's too soon to definitively predict the path of tropical storms Maria and Nate, which formed Wednesday in the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico, respectively, but forecasters issued tropical storm watches throughout the Caribbean and in some Mexico states.

Although Nate, the most recently formed tropical storm of the season, was nearly stationary in the Gulf early Thursday, the National Hurricane Center said it is expected to strengthen by the weekend.

As of 5 a.m. Thursday, Nate hovered over the southern Gulf, about 130 miles west-northwest of Campeche, Mexico, and about 200 miles northeast of Coatzacoalcos, Mexico.

The storm, experts said, could batter the Mexican states of Campeche, Tabasco and Southern Veracruz with up to eight inches of rain and a storm surge that could reach three feet in coming days.

In the Atlantic, tropical storm Maria, milling about 940 miles east-southeast of the Leeward Islands, was expected to continue moving west at about 23 miles per hour Thursday, according to the NHC.

By Friday, experts said the storm would increase its speed and gradually turn northwest.

The NHC advised Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands to keep a close watch on the storm. Tropical storm winds extended about 115 miles outward from Maria, whose sustained wind speeds were about 50 mph Thursday.

Meanwhile, Hurricane Katia, a Category One storm with sustained winds of about 90 mph, continued barrelling northward between the U.S. and Bermuda.

Katia is not expected to strengthen in coming days, but its speed is likely to increase, experts said.

A tropical storm watch has been issued for Bermuda, where Katia is expected to drop up to two inches of rain and cause tropical-storm strength wind gusts.

Forecasters warned Katia passing by the U.S. East Coast could bring with it large swells and life-threatening surf and rip currents to Atlantic beaches.

Tracking Nate

Weather Underground Inc. | Updates on this storm

Tracking Maria

Weather Underground Inc. | Updates on this storm

Tracking Katia

Weather Underground Inc. | Updates on this storm

Hurricane Katia moves by East Coast; tropical storms Maria and Nate churn nearby 09/08/11 [Last modified: Thursday, September 8, 2011 8:08am]
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