As Connecticut and much of the Eastern Seaboard continue to recover from the effects of Irene, forecasters from the National Hurricane Center are keeping an eye on another storm developing over the Atlantic: Katia.
As of 5 a.m. Thursday, the tropical system — which reached hurricane strength late Wednesday — was situated about 1,065 miles east of the Leeward Islands. With maximum sustained winds of 75 mph, the storm was moving west at about 20 mph.
"Katia is a category one hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale," the NHC reports. "Some strengthening is forecast during the next 48 hours, and Katia could become a major hurricane by the weekend."
But could Katia follow in Irene's footsteps by making landfall on the East Coast of the U.S.?
"It's got a lot of ocean to go. There's no way at this point to say if it will make any impacts, let alone when it might make them," NHC meteorologist Dennis Feltgen told MSNBC. "There's a reason we don't do forecasts more than five days in advance — the information just isn't good."
As indicated by models from the Weather Underground, Katia could easily turn back out to sea before it has any effect on the U.S. mainland. But there remains a chance that the storm's "recurving" will take it along a path similar to the last storm.
Until meteorologists are able to project Katia's C-shaped path with more accuracy, however, residents of the East Coast will simply be left to monitor the latest forecast and hope that Katia doesn't take after Irene.