Hurricane Watch Posted For U.S. As T.S. Nate Closes In
Updated by Earth Networks Meteorologists Mark Ellinwood and James West.
Tropical Storm Nate is back over the Caribbean Sea and heading for the eastern Yucatan Peninsula. It will soak central America and eastern Mexico with flooding rain today. Then it will move into the Gulf of Mexico early Saturday.
As of 7 a.m. CDT, Tropical Storm Nate was located near 17.8 N and 84.8 W. That’s about 115 miles northeast of Isla Guanaja, Honduras, and about 230 miles south-southeast of Cozumel, Mexico. Nate is packing top sustained winds of 45 mph. It’s churning north-northwest at 14 mph. Nate’s minimum central pressure is at 996 mb, or 29.41 inches of mercury.
Watches and Warnings
A Hurricane Watch has been issued from Morgan City, La., eastward to the Mississippi/Alabama border. That includes metropolitan New Orleans, Lake Pontchartrain, and Lake Maurepas. There are also Tropical Storm Watches from the Mississippi/Alabama border. These extend eastward to the Okaloosa/Walton County Line in Florida. Tropical Storm Watches are also in effect from west of Morgan City to Intracoastal City, La.
Outside of the U.S., there are Tropical Storm Warnings in effect from Punta Castilla, Honduras to the Honduras/Nicaragua border, as well as from Punta Herrero to Rio Lagartos, Mexico. A Hurricane Watch is also in place along Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula from Punta Herrero to Rio Lagartos.
Nate, now tracking into favorable upper-level conditions and over very warm water, will likely intensify over the next several days. By late today and early Saturday, Nate will either collide with the northeastern Yucatan Peninsula or just graze it. Regardless of its exact track, it will bring flooding rain from Nicaragua and Honduras to western Cuba and the Cayman Islands.
From there, Nate will move steadily north-northwest across the central Gulf of Mexico on Saturday. Then it will potentially make landfall along the Louisiana, Mississippi or Alabama Gulf coasts early on Sunday. At this point, Nate would likely either be a strong tropical storm or a Category One hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. Storm surges of 1 to 3 feet and rainfall of 3 to 6 inches will be possible from this system as it comes ashore along the U.S. coast Sunday morning.
Although the Atlantic Hurricane Season has peaked, October is still a very busy month for tropical activity. The most favorable locations for October tropical systems are in the western Caribbean, exactly where this system originates.