Friday Morning Update: Tropical Storm Nate
Tropical Storm Nate is centered 60 miles east/northeast of Honduras, 275 miles south/southeast of Cozumel, Mexico with sustained winds of 45 mph as it moves NNW at 14 mph. The pressure of the storm has risen slightly to 999 mb.
TIMING AND LANDFALL: As Nate exits the Caribbean to the north today, the center could cross over the Yucatan Peninsula, further slowing strengthening, but it may also stay over water as it crosses into the Gulf of Mexico tonight.
Once Nate enters the Gulf, it could reach category 1 hurricane status early Saturday as it continues moving further NNW. Nate will then have a full 24 hours over the still very warm Gulf waters as it heads towards the Gulf coast. During this time, there is a chance for rapid intensification, which is not included in the current forecast. Instead, the official forecast from the National Hurricane Center puts Nate as a category 1 hurricane with sustained winds near 80 mph at landfall somewhere from Louisiana to the Florida panhandle between Sunday morning and Sunday afternoon. As usual, expect these details to change some in the next couple days.
THREATS: The biggest threats will be the wind and the rain. With this type of system, hurricane force winds likely won’t stretch too far from the storm’s center, but will impact areas near landfall.
Days of easterly winds have already caused an increase in tides along the tidal lakes and Gulf coast. Nate will further increase these water levels with some usually dry areas along the coast seeing water depths between 3 to 5 feet.
Rainfall totals will range from less than one inch to 5 inches with some higher pockets. It’s too early to say who will see the highest rain totals, but most inland rivers can handle the amount of rain. During the heaviest rain, the drainage system may fall behind and cause some flash flooding where bands of rain persist. Nate will quickly move further north, preventing any widespread inland flooding.
An isolated tornado cannot be ruled out, but the greatest tornado threat will likely stay to our east.
WIND TIMING: Currently, Baton Rouge has a greater than 30% chance of seeing tropical storm force winds, which would likely arrive early Sunday morning.