Tropical Storm Nate moves towards Gulf Coast

Areas at the greatest risk currently for disruption from Nate this weekend, based on the storm's current projected track. (Graphic: Riskpulse)

Areas at the greatest risk currently for disruption from Nate this weekend, based on the storm's current projected track. (Graphic: Riskpulse)

Impacts likely this weekend, the question is how strong will Nate be

The tropical depression that formed yesterday near Nicaragua, as expected, has become Tropical Storm Nate with 40 mph winds as it skirts the Nicaraguan coast today. Nate is not expected to strengthen until it passes Nicaragua, but is expected to become a hurricane by Friday night as it moves further into the Gulf of Mexico heading toward the United States.

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) is warning about potential weekend impacts anywhere from the Florida panhandle to Louisiana. Assets in the Mobile, AL; Baton Rouge, LA; and New Orleans, LA, areas currently showing the most risk, according to supply chain risk analysis firm Riskpulse.

Riskpulse works with supply chain participants to analyze risk to assets, giving those participants time to adjust shipping and receiving schedules, or move assets out of harm’s way.

“Given the timing of the event (Saturday night into Sunday), we recommend preparatory action be taken at this time across the northern Gulf Coast in anticipation of at least a tropical storm making landfall,” Riskpulse advised in a Watchtower Alert. “At this time, we believe there is an 85% chance of a named tropical storm or stronger making landfall, and a 50% chance that this storm is a Category 1 Hurricane or stronger as it makes landfall.

According to Riskpulse, the potential track has shifted a little further west overnight which has put the Port of New Orleans in the potential zone. Closure of the port would impact agricultural and other logistical movements along the lower Mississippi River, the firm said.

Tracking models have narrowed the potential track of the storm, but differ on the intensity, Riskpulse advised. “The intensity of Nate runs the gamut from a tropical wave to a Cat 3. Based on the combination of atmospheric conditions, ocean temperatures/heat content, and most important time, we feel that the most likely intensity is for either a Tropical Storm or a Cat 1 storm in the northern portion of the Gulf of Mexico. Once inland, Nate will rapidly curve across the Southeast quadrant of the nation,” it said.