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Katia weakens to category three hurricane: NHC
by Staff Writers
Miami (AFP) Sept 5, 2011

Katia weakened to a category three hurricane early Tuesday as it churned far off in the Atlantic but continued to heave storm swells against the US east coast, the National Hurricane Center said.

Packing sustained winds of up to 125 miles (205 kilometers) per hour, the center of Katia was churning about 400 miles (625 kilometers) south of Bermuda at 0900 GMT, the Miami-based NHC said in its latest advisory.

The NHC said it expected the hurricane -- which is still too far away from any landmass to generate coastal watches or warnings -- to fluctuate in strength during the next 24 hours before slowly weakening.

But it said Katia will continue to generate "life-threatening surf and rip current conditions" along the US east coast as well as in Bermuda, the Greater Antilles and east-facing beaches in the Bahamas.

NHC data indicated Katia would swing north and steer clear of the US eastern seaboard, parts of which are still rebuilding after Hurricane Irene, which slammed the densely populated region last week.

Katia, the 11th named storm of the Atlantic season, had been downgraded to a tropical storm last week, but regained hurricane status after passing over warmer water.

It is now listed as a category three storm on the Saffir-Simpson scale, which ranks hurricanes from one to five based on wind strength.

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