A few days ago, Tropical Depression 16 was forecast to turn into Tropical Storm Nate and possibly the 9th hurricane of the season. Now, the storm has indeed reached tropical storm status, and a hurricane warning has now been issued for the U.S. Gulf Coast. NOLA.com reports that Nate appears to be placing New Orleans in its path, albeit on the western edge rather than as a direct hit. However, the warning issued on Friday morning extends from Grand Isle (located on a Louisiana barrier island) all the way to Alabama and Florida.
Currently, forecasters expect Nate to make landfall — after strengthening into a hurricane — on Saturday night. The system could swiftly bring an incredible storm surge throughout southeastern Louisiana and parts of the Mississippi and Alabama coasts before moving further eastward toward Florida, per the National Hurricane Canter:
“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.”
Currently, Nate’s maximum sustained winds are hovering around 50 mph with winds extending about 115 miles from the storm’s core. The system shall intensify over the Gulf of Mexico’s warm waters, and ultimately, the coast could see isolated pockets of 12 inches of rain. Storm surges could be as high as 7 feet in some places, which isn’t good news for New Orleans after the city’s recent pumping failures. Although NOLA officials say that pumps are currently operating at 92% capacity, Mayor Mitch Landrieu has declared a state of emergency ahead of Nate’s arrival. Stay dry, everyone.