August 24, 2005

Tropical Storm Katrina aims at Florida, Bahamas

MIAMI (Reuters) - Tropical Storm Katrina formed in the
central Bahamas on Wednesday and aimed its 40-mph (64-kph)
winds at Florida's southern Atlantic Coast.

Katrina was expected to hit the Miami area by Friday
morning as a strong tropical storm or a weak hurricane, then
cut across the southern tip of Florida into the Gulf of Mexico,
forecasters at the U.S. National Hurricane Center said.

Tropical storm watches were posted from the middle islands
of the Florida Keys northward 250 miles to Vero Beach on the
Atlantic Coast, alerting residents to expect storm conditions
within 36 hours.

Forecasters expected those to be strengthened to hurricane
watches for part of the area later Thursday, alerting residents
to expect hurricane winds of 74 mph (119 kph).

At 8 a.m. EDT, Katrina was centered about 70 miles
southeast of Nassau, Bahamas, or about 250 miles

east-southeast of Miami.

The storm was moving erratically northwest and was expected
to dump up to 15 inches of rain on the central and northwest
Bahamas on Wednesday, battering the shore with large and
dangerous waves, forecasters said.