Tropical Storm Nate is expected to strengthen overnight and through the day tomorrow as it continues to track toward the Gulf Coast across warmer waters. As a result, the National Weather Service has issued a hurricane warning for Grand Isle, LA, to the Alabama/Florida border for Tropical Storm Nate. The storm is expected to make landfall late Saturday or early Sunday.
A hurricane watch, meaning hurricane conditions are possible, is in effect for much of the rest of southeast Louisiana, including the New Orleans metro are, and the Florida Panhandle from the Alabama/Florida border to the Okaloosa/Walton County line.
The storm is expected to move quickly through the region, but leave power outages and possibly flooding in its wake.
“The highest winds will generally be west of I-65 and closer to the coast,” the NWS said. “Storm surge inundation of 3 to 6 feet, possibly as high as 7 feet around the Mobile bay region and barrier islands is now forecast. Lesser amounts, 2 to 4 feet eastward across the western Florida Panhandle. Local water rises could be sudden and recession slow in the two days following Nate`s passage.”
The storm currently has 45 mph winds. Supply chain risk analysis firm Riskpulse said there is a 50% chance at this point of Nate being a Category 1 hurricane (winds above 75 mph) when it makes landfall. It could also be a strong tropical storm if further strengthening does not occur as expected.
“The most likely area for U.S. landfall looks to be eastern Louisiana. In stating the obvious, this situation needs to be closely monitored from this point on,” Riskpulse said.
Impacts are expected to start last Saturday with swells arriving along the northern Gulf Coast and the outer rainbands arriving at the coast and spreading inland. Late Saturday night, hurricane-force winds will arrive with bands of heavy rains – perhaps up to 10 inches or more in all. Wind and rain will continue into Sunday before the storm moves into the Tennessee Valley region as a weakening system.
Rainfall is likely to be spread throughout the Southeast and southern Appalachians as the storm tracks toward the Northeast Monday and Tuesday.
The impacts of flooding rains and hurricane-force winds are likely to leave power outages along with impassable roads in some areas.
Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi have all declared state of emergencies ahead of the storm. According to the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, 66 oil production platforms had been evacuated as of late Friday morning and some 71% of the Gulf’s current oil production and 53% of its natural gas production has been stopped.