(MIAMI) -- Hurricane Irene has come and gone, and now another storm is threatening to take her place and become the latest hurricane of the 2011 Atlantic season.
Originally a tropical depression, the storm picked up strength off the West African coast overnight to become Tropical Storm Katia on Monday.
Katia is currently located over 500 miles west/southwest of the southernmost Cape Verde Islands, with maximum sustained winds of 40 miles per hour, according to Michael Brennan, a senior hurricane specialist at the National Hurricane Center in Miami.
Although "it's a minimal tropical storm," Brennan says Katia could gain some muscle by the end of the week.
"We do expect the system to strength over the next several days. It could be near hurricane strength by the time we get to late Wednesday, early Thursday," he says.
As for whether the storm poses a threat to the United States, Brennan says it's still too early to tell.
"It's just too far out and the weather patterns are too changeable...once we get beyond four or five days," he says.
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