12th depression could be storm today

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 30, 2011

This model shows the projected path through Saturday of Tropical Depression 12. Courtesy graphic

National Hurricane Center meteorologists said Monday satellite images indicate that the cloud pattern of Tropical Depression 12 has changed little in organization from earlier in the day and that it continues moving westward.

The depression was located about 405 miles south southwest of the southernmost Cape Verde islands, with maximum sustained winds of 35 mph, Monday afternoon.

It was moving west near 14 mph.

The estimated minimum central pressure is 1008 mb, 29.77 inches.

There has been moderate to strong east-northeasterly shear over the system, but the National Hurricane Center says there are indications that this shear will lesson, allowing the depression to strengthen.

Forecast models projected that the depression would become a tropical storm Monday night or early this morning and strengthen into a hurricane by Thursday morning.

It was expected to grow into the 11th named storm, Katia. On average, the 11th named storm doesn’t emerge until Nov. 23.

This year, NOAA predicts at least 19 named storms and 10 hurricanes.

While it is moving westward, a mid- to upper-level low should cause the tropical cyclone to turn toward the west-northwest within the next day or so, according to National Hurricane Center meteorologists.

Some models predict it may not make U.S. landfall.