Gulf Coast facing another hurricane threat

The current projected path of Tropical Depression Sixteen, which is expected to become Hurricane Nate in the next 24 to 48 hours. (Photo: National Hurricane Center)

The current projected path of Tropical Depression Sixteen, which is expected to become Hurricane Nate in the next 24 to 48 hours. (Photo: National Hurricane Center)

Tropical Depression Sixteen expected to intensify, make landfall this weekend

Just as the nation turned its attention away from tropical weather, another threat is now looming for the Gulf Coast and Florida this weekend. Tropical Depression Sixteen is official and on the radar of the National Hurricane Center (NHC), and it has eyes for Louisiana and Florida this weekend.

The storm is currently in the western Caribbean Sea, about 200 miles south-southeast of the Caribbean Sea border of Nicaragua and Honduras moving northwest at 7 mph. As of 2 p.m. EDT, it has winds of 35 mph, but rapid intensification is expected in the next 24 hours, the NHC said.

The storm, if as expected intensifies and becomes a tropical storm, would be named Nate. NHC said the storm will likely be a tropical storm tonight or early on Thursday as it moves across northeastern Nicaragua and eastern Honduras late Thursday before emerging into the northwestern Caribbean Sea on Friday.

According to Weather.com, the storm is then expected to move northward as a high pressure system currently in place in the Gulf Coast moves out, causing a southward dip in the U.S. jet stream. This will “pull” the storm, likely a strong tropical storm or low-end hurricane, into the Gulf.

The projected path of the storm has it arriving late on Saturday or Sunday along the Gulf Coast somewhere from Southeast Louisiana to Florida. The storm is forecast to continue moving north with heavy rain and flooding into Georgia and the Carolinas.

The impact to transportation is unknown, but the area is still returning to normal following the landfall of Hurricane Irma, with increased rates and capacity issues affecting shipping.