Tropical Storm Nate continues to churn in the far Northwest Caribbean Sea with a future path that is likely to impact the Gulf of Mexico coastline this weekend. The cyclone is located about 175 miles southeast of Cozumel, Mexico. Maximum sustained winds are near 50 mph, with gusts to 65 mph. Tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 115 miles, mainly to the east of the center, well offshore. Nate is moving quickly to the north-northwest at 21 mph.
A State of Emergency has been declared for the New Orleans area and several parishes along the coast. The latest track from the National Hurricane Center brings the storm into the Gulf Coast region Saturday night into Sunday morning. Conditions appear favorable for strengthening up to landfall and Nate is forecast to become a category one hurricane.
Tropical alerts extend from the Florida Panhandle to Louisiana. Parts of the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico are under Hurricane Watches. Tropical storm force winds are likely to affect the Gulf Coast Saturday morning, with hurricane force winds forecast near the center.
Nate will bring excessive rainfall to the Southeast of at least 3″ to 6″, with isolated areas seeing near a foot. Southern Honduras and Western Nicaragua may see amounts of 12″ to 15″, with totals of 2″ to 6″ in Eastern El Salvador, Central Honduras, Western Cuba, Eastern Belize, the Cayman Islands and the Eastern Yucatan of Mexico.
Storm Surge alerts are also in effect from near Panama City to west of New Orleans. The combination of a dangerous storm surge and the tide will cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded by rising waters moving inland from the shoreline. The water is expected to reach to 4 to 7 feet from near Morgan City, Louisiana to the Alabama/Florida border.
The deepest water will occur along the immediate coast near and to the east of the landfall location, where the surge will be accompanied by large and destructive waves. Surge-related flooding depends on the relative timing of the surge and the tidal cycle, and can vary greatly over short distances.
Here are some key messages from the National Hurricane Center:
1. Nate could be near hurricane intensity when it approaches the Yucatan Peninsula later today bringing direct impacts from wind, storm surge, and heavy rainfall. A Tropical Storm Warning and a Hurricane Watch are in effect for a portion of this area, and life-threatening flash flooding is also possible.
2. Life-threatening storm surge flooding is likely along portions of the northern Gulf Coast, and a storm surge warning has been issued from Morgan City, Louisiana, to the Alabama/Florida border. Residents in these areas should heed any evacuation instructions given by local officials.
3. A Hurricane Warning has been has been issued for portions of the northern Gulf Coast from Louisiana to Alabama, and preparations to protect life and property should be rushed to completion in these
4. Nate will bring heavy rainfall of 3 to 6 inches with isolated totals of 12 inches from the Central Gulf Coast states into the eastern Tennessee Valley and southern Appalachians through this weekend, resulting in the possibility of flash flooding in these areas.
5. Heavy rainfall from Nate will continue to be a threat in portions of Central America, with life-threatening flash flooding and mud slides possible in portions of Nicaragua, Honduras, Costa Rica,
Panama, and Belize through tonight.
For WeatherNation: Meteorologist Mace Michaels