A tropical depression far out in the Atlantic is forecast to become a hurricane this week, but it is too early to know if it will strike the US.

The new depression is forecast to become Tropical Storm Katia – the name that replaced Katrina in the rotating roster of storm names after the catastrophic damage from the storm that hit New Orleans in 2005.

The US National Hurricane Centre in Miami said the depression south of the Cape Verde Islands could reach hurricane strength on Thursday, while still far out in the ocean. A spokesman said it was too early to know if it would hit the US.

The US east coast has been clearing up after Tropical Storm Irene hit, causing massive travel disruption while leaving millions without power.