09/09/2011 05:17 EDT | Updated 11/09/2011 05:12 EST

Katia makes waves on N.S. Atlantic coast

Hurricane Katia is bringing "large waves" to the Atlantic coast of Nova Scotia, forecasters say, even though the storm is far from land.

The storm was still about 620 kilometres southwest of Halifax as of 12 p.m. AT, and is expected to track "well south of land areas," the Canadian Hurricane Centre said in a statement Friday.

Katia had maximum sustained winds of roughly 139 km/h with higher gusts, making it a Category 1 hurricane. It is moving northeast at a speed of about 46 km/hr.

"The primary impact of this storm for land territory will be the south-facing coastlines of Nova Scotia and Newfoundland with large swells crashing onshore," the centre said.

Forecasters said they have already seen "large waves" along Nova Scotia's Atlantic Coast, and they are expected to build Friday.

"Waves could be breaking at heights near five metres by this evening," the hurricane centre said, noting that similar waves could be expected in southern Newfoundland on Saturday.

Forecasters urged people to stay well away from the surf zone, saying dangerous rip currents could develop at some beaches.

The Miami-based U.S. National Hurricane Center noted that the large swells would also affect most of the U.S. East Coast and Bermuda. Many U.S. states are still recovering after Hurricane Irene, which brought heavy rain and strong wind to coastal communities.