Here we go again — another threatening tropical storm is churning in the that and U.S. Gulf Coast less than 30 days after Hurricane Irma unleashed fury in the Southeast.
Tropical Storm Nate formed early Thursday morning near the coast of Nicaragua and was spinning roughly 10 miles south of Puerto Cabezas at a slow jogger’s pace of about 8 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center’s 8 a.m. update.
In the next 48 hours, Nate is expected to increase in speed and gain strength as it moves north-northwest and dumps 15-20 inches of rain on Nicaragua.
Where will Nate hit?
According to the latest forecast models, Tropical Storm Nate is projected to move across Northeastern Nicaragua and eastern Honduras Thursday.
The storm’s eye is expected to move near the coast of Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula late Friday into Saturday morning.
Nate will likely gain strength as it spins northward this weekend and is projected to make landfall along the U.S. Gulf Coast, possibly as a Category 1 storm by Saturday morning, according to AccuWeather.
Latest models track the storm heading more toward Louisiana by early Sunday, but meteorologists warn that anyone from Florida to Alabama, Mississippi and southeastern Louisiana may be at risk for damaging winds, flooding and rough surf. This track has shifted quite a bit since yesterday when it was projected to hit the Florida Panhandle dead-on.
Start preparing now
The good news is that the storm will likely not affect the areas of the Southeast severely damaged by Harvey or Irma, according to AccuWeather. However, meteorologists warn that anyone in on the U.S. Gulf Coast from Louisiana to the Florida Panhandle should start preparing now.
After making landfall Sunday, Nate will weaken to a tropical storm as it moves north through the southeast Monday. Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Tennessee could see tropical storm winds and heavy rain early next week, according to the National Hurricane Center’s projected models.
Nate is expected to remain a tropical depression as it moves through the Appalachian region Tuesday.
Watches and warnings
A tropical storm warning is in effect for all areas from Sandy Bay Sirpi, Nicaragua to Punta Castilla, Honduras. A hurricane watch is in effect for all areas from Punta Herrero to Rio Lagartos, Mexico, as of 8 a.m. Thursday.