Tropics explode as hurricane season nears peak

Data Courtesy of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Hurricane Season peaks in mid September.

COLUMBIA (WACH) -- As the traditional peak of hurricane season arrives Saturday, the 13th named storm of the season, Maria, approaches the United States.

Maria is approaching the Leeward Islands and is forecasted to move over Puerto Rico Sunday. Tropical Storm Maria has sustained winds of 45 mph and a central pressure of 1004 mb Friday afternoon. The storm is moving west-northwest at 14 miles per hour.

Maria is forecasted to strengthen to hurricane strength by Tuesday morning before making a north-northwest turn. Forecast models haven't come to a full consensus, but they suggest Maria will curve out to sea like Katia. A strong trough is expected to deflect Maria once she moves over the Bahamas.

The climatological peak of hurricane season occurs on September 10th, but there is a long way to go before this season is finished. Many coastal residents know the worst hurricanes can hit in late September or October. Wednesday welcomed both Maria and Nate to the mix.

An area of distubed weather in the Bay of Campeche was officially upgraded to Tropical Storm Nate Wednesday evening. Hurricane Hunter aircraft were able to find winds sustained above Tropical Storm force as well as a center of circulation. The official National Hurricane Center track elevates Nate to a Category 1 Hurricane before it makes landfall in Mexico.

Hurricane Katia generated rip currents up and down the East Coast, but didn't have land impacts. Katia's strength continues to fluctuate. Katia was a Category 4 Hurricane Monday, but has weakened to a Category 1. Katia is expected to slowly weaken as she deflects off of an east coast trough. She may eventually move towards the United Kingdom.

All of this activity comes after the remnants of Tropical Storm Lee generated severe weather and flooding from Louisiana through the Carolinas. Lee eventually weakened below tropical criteria, but the general spin in the atmosphere generated a lot of tornadoes across the south. Lee's legacy may be the amount of rain it dropped over the Gulf Coast states.

The SkyWACH Weather team reminds residents that the hurricane season is far from over. September and October have been historical months for the Southeast. You should have a hurricane preparedness plan and kit ready just in case South Carolina is threatened.

Remember that you can always stay aware of what's happening in the tropicals via facebook, twitter and