Hurricane Nate intensifies on path to U.S. gulf coast

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Tropical Storm Nate intensified early Saturday, gathering strength as it travels through the Gulf of Mexico. It has now been elevated to Hurricane Nate, the National Hurricane Center reported.

On Friday, the storm hit Central America, leaving at least 25 people dead, Reuters reported.

Nate was expected to reach the U.S. Gulf Coast by Saturday evening, the Center said, and New Orleans is among the likely targets. Louisiana’s governor has urged his state’s residents to take Nate seriously, saying the storm “has the potential to do a lot of damage.”

“If we get exactly what’s foretasted, it’s going to be serious,” Gov. John Bel Edwards said in a news conference, according to the Advocate, after a briefing with top emergency officials on Thursday.

The National Hurricane Center has warned that Nate could bring strong wind, a sizable storm surge and heavy rainfall from Louisiana to the Florida panhandle. Nate is forecast to dump 3 to 6 inches of rain on the region — with isolated totals of up to 10 inches.

“No one should take this storm lightly. It has already claimed the lives of at least 20 people,” Edwards reportedly said Friday,  “We do want people to be very, very cautious and to not take this storm for granted.”

Edwards encouraged people across southeast Louisiana to hunker down for the storm by 8 p.m.

New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu said 109 of the city’s 120 pumps are functioning, which is 92 percent capacity.

“We are ready for whatever Nate brings our way,” Landrieu reportedly said. He’s enacted a 7 p.m. Saturday curfew for city residents.

Edwards said he’s already received a phone call and assurances from President Donald J. Trump regarding support for the state, according to Twitter posts from the governors account (see below).

President Trump also tweeted that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is prepared for Nate. His tweet read: “Our great team at @FEMA is prepared for #HurricaneNate. Everyone in LA, MS, AL, and FL please listen to your local authorities & be safe!”

As referenced in the president’s tweet, Mississippi, Alabama and parts of Florida also were expected to be hit by the Nate, as states of emergency are declared in many counties.

A hurricane warning was in effect from metropolitan New Orleans and Lake Pontchartrain, La., as well as Grand Isle, La., to the Alabama-Florida border. A tropical storm warning was in effect for Lake Maurepas and Morgan City to Grand Isle, La., as well as Okaloosa/Walton County, Fla., to the Alabama-Florida border.

Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant declared a state of emergency in six southernmost counties. At a briefing Friday in Gulfport, State officials warned that the main danger posed by Nate in that state will be from up to 10 feet of storm surge in low-lying coastal areas, as well as from winds.

“If you are in an area that has flooded, I would recommend you evacuate that area until the storm has ended and the water has receded for your own personal safety and for the safety of the first responders that will be responding in the event you are trapped,” Bryant said.

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey also declared a state of emergency Thursday, in response to Hurricane Nate’s arrival, in order to make personnel and resources available for first responders during the storm.

According to the National Weather Service’s 10 am update, Hurricane Nate is moving rapidly toward the north-northwest near 26 mph. A turn toward the north is forecast tonight, followed by a turn toward the northeast. The center of Nate will move across the northern Gulf of Mexico Saturday and will make landfall along the central U.S. Gulf Coast Saturday night.

Reports indicate that Nate’s maximum sustained winds have increased to near 90 mph with higher gusts. Additional strengthening is expected before it makes landfall

Nate is forecast to be a category 2 hurricane when the center reaches the Gulf Coast.

Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 35 miles primarily to the east of the center and tropical-storm-force winds
extend outward up to 125 miles.

Tweets and pictures follow.

According to the National Weather Service, here is the latest update on Nate as of 10am CDT (11am ET):

BULLETIN
Hurricane Nate Advisory Number 13
NWS National Hurricane Center Miami FL AL162017
1000 AM CDT Sat Oct 07 2017

…NATE STRENGTHENING AND NOW EXPECTED TO BE A CATEGORY 2 HURRICANE
AT LANDFALL ON THE CENTRAL GULF COAST…
…NEW TROPICAL STORM WARNING FOR PORTIONS OF THE FLORIDA
PANHANDLE…

SUMMARY OF 1000 AM CDT…1500 UTC…INFORMATION
———————————————–
LOCATION…26.6N 88.4W
ABOUT 180 MI…285 KM SSE OF THE MOUTH OF THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER
ABOUT 265 MI…425 KM S OF BILOXI MISSISSIPPI
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS…90 MPH…150 KM/H
PRESENT MOVEMENT…NNW OR 340 DEGREES AT 26 MPH…43 KM/H
MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE…984 MB…29.06 INCHES

WATCHES AND WARNINGS
——————–
CHANGES WITH THIS ADVISORY:

A Tropical Storm Warning is now in effect east of the Okaloosa/Walton County Line to Indian Pass Florida.

SUMMARY OF WATCHES AND WARNINGS IN EFFECT:

A Hurricane Warning is in effect for…
* Grand Isle Louisiana to the Alabama/Florida border
* Metropolitan New Orleans and Lake Pontchartrain

A Storm Surge Warning is in effect for…
* Morgan City Louisiana to the Okaloosa/Walton County Line Florida
* Northern and western shores of Lake Pontchartrain

A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for…
* Lake Maurepas
* West of Grand Isle to Morgan City Louisiana
* East of the Alabama/Florida border to Indian Pass Florida

A Hurricane Watch is in effect for…
* Lake Maurepas
* East of the Alabama/Florida border to the Okaloosa/Walton County
Line
* West of Grand Isle to Morgan City Louisiana

A Storm Surge Watch is in effect for…
* East of the Okaloosa/Walton County Line to Indian Pass Florida

A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for…
* West of Morgan City to Intracoastal City Louisiana

A Hurricane Warning means that hurricane conditions are expected somewhere within the warning area, in this case within the next 24 hours. Preparations to protect life and property should be rushed to completion.

A Storm Surge Warning means there is a danger of life-threatening inundation, from rising water moving inland from the coastline, during the next 36 hours in the indicated locations. For a depiction of areas at risk, please see the National Weather Service Storm Surge Watch/Warning Graphic, available at hurricanes.gov. This is a life-threatening situation. Persons located within these areas should take all necessary actions to protect life and property from rising water and the potential for other dangerous conditions. Promptly follow evacuation and other
instructions from local officials.

A Tropical Storm Warning means that tropical storm conditions are expected somewhere within the warning area.

A Storm Surge Watch means there is a possibility of life- threatening inundation, from rising water moving inland from the coastline, in the indicated locations during the next 48 hours. For a depiction of areas at risk, please see the National Weather Service Storm Surge Watch/Warning Graphic, available at hurricanes.gov.

A Hurricane Watch means that hurricane conditions are possible within the watch area.

A Tropical Storm Watch means that tropical storm conditions are possible within the watch area.

For storm information specific to your area in the United States, including possible inland watches and warnings, please monitor products issued by your local National Weather Service forecast office. For storm information specific to your area outside the United States, please monitor products issued by your national meteorological service.

DISCUSSION AND 48-HOUR OUTLOOK
——————————
At 1000 AM CDT (1500 UTC), the center of Hurricane Nate was located
near latitude 26.6 North, longitude 88.4 West. Nate is moving
rapidly toward the north-northwest near 26 mph (43 km/h), and this
general motion is expected to continue through this evening. A turn
toward the north is forecast tonight, followed by a turn toward the
northeast. On the forecast track, the center of Nate will move
across the northern Gulf of Mexico today and will make landfall
along the central U.S. Gulf Coast tonight.

Reports from NOAA and Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter aircraft
indicate that maximum sustained winds have increased to near 90 mph
(150 km/h) with higher gusts. Additional strengthening is expected
before landfall, and Nate is forecast to be a category 2 hurricane
on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale when the center reaches
the Gulf Coast.

Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 35 miles (55 km),
primarily to the east of the center and tropical-storm-force winds
extend outward up to 125 miles (205 km).

The minimum central pressure estimated from the Hurricane Hunter
aircraft data is 984 mb (29.06 inches).

HAZARDS AFFECTING LAND
———————-
WIND: Along the northern Gulf Coast, hurricane conditions are
expected in the hurricane warning area this evening and tonight,
with tropical storm conditions expected to begin during the next
several hours. Tropical storm conditions are expected in the
tropical storm warning area tonight and Sunday. Hurricane
conditions are possible in the hurricane watch area tonight and
tropical storm conditions are possible in the tropical storm watch
area tonight and Sunday.

STORM SURGE: 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 the following heights above ground if the peak surge occurs at
the time of high tide…

Mouth of the Mississippi River to the Mississippi/Alabama border…7
to 11 ft
Mississippi/Alabama border to the Alabama/Florida border, including
Mobile Bay…6 to 9 ft
Morgan City, Louisiana to the mouth of the Mississippi River…4 to
6 ft
Alabama/Florida border to the Okaloosa/Walton County Line…4 to 6
ft
Okaloosa/Walton County Line to Indian Pass, Florida…2 to 4 ft
Indian Pass to Crystal River, Florida…1 to 3 ft

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. For information
specific to your area, please see products issued by your local
National Weather Service forecast office.

RAINFALL: Nate is expected to produce the following rain
accumulations through Monday:

Western Cuba: 2 to 4 inches, max 6 inches.
Cayman Islands: 1 to 3 inches.

East of the Mississippi River from the central Gulf Coast into the
Deep South, eastern Tennessee Valley, and southern Appalachians:
3 to 6 inches, max 10 inches.

Across the Ohio Valley into the central Appalachians:
2 to 4 inches, max 6 inches.

TORNADOES: A couple of tornadoes will be possible beginning late
this afternoon over parts of the central Gulf Coast region.

SURF: Swells generated by Nate will affect land areas around the
Gulf of Mexico during the next day or so. These swells are likely
to cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions. Please
consult products from your local weather office.

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