Tropical Storm Nate could strike US Gulf Coast as hurricane this weekend

Nate is predicted to strengthen into a Category 1 hurricane by the time it hits the U.S. Gulf Coast on Sunday, NHC spokesman Dennis Feltgen said.

The company is shutting production at its Blind Faith, Genesis, Jack/St.Malo, Petronius and Tahiti facilities and evacuating personnel.

"There is the potential for a tropical storm or hurricane to make landfall along the Gulf coast from southeastern Louisiana to the Florida Panhandle this weekend", AccuWeather Hurricane Expert Dan Kottlowski said. Strengthening is likely once the centre moves over the northwestern Caribbean Sea on Thursday night and Friday, and Nate could be near hurricane strength as the centre approaches the Yucatan Peninsula.

The storm's center is now moving across northeastern Nicaragua. Flooding drove 5,000 residents into emergency shelters.

Gov. Kay Ivey says she has declared a state of emergency for Alabama that will go into effect at 7 a.m. Friday ahead of Tropical Storm Nate.

Thankfully for Coffee County, the newest predictions seem to indicate a more westward track through the Gulf, which would shift the strongest part of the storm towards MS and Louisiana. The storm's center will reach the Gulf of Mexico, but its expected track beyond that point is less certain. As of Thursday, Cayman was no longer projected to fall within the path of tropical storm-force winds.

Tropical Storm Nate could strike US Gulf Coast as hurricane this weekend

It will likely be dramatically worse on the other side of the Atchafalaya Swamp with hurricane conditions possible over portions of Eastern Louisiana, including areas from Grand Isle to New Orleans, and points to the east.

About 6.4 percent of Gulf natural gas production remains offline, BSEE said.

Costa Rica's Judicial Investigation Department blamed seven deaths in that country on the storm and said that 15 people were missing on Thursday.

Nate is moving to the north-northwest at 10 miles per hour. It was not forecast to reach hurricane strength until late Friday, after the system passes over Mexico and returns to warm Caribbean waters.

Tropical Storm Nate has killed at least 22 people in Central America with torrential rains that forced thousands from their homes, uprooted trees, knocked out bridges and turned roads into rivers, officials said Thursday.

  • Leroy Wright