Nate headed to Gulf of Mexico

Photo source: WEAR-TV

1 PM Update:

Nate is located over the northwestern Caribbean Sea as a tropical storm with maximum sustained winds of 50 miles per hour (mph).

The storm is tracking to the north-northwest around 21 mph.

Nate is expected to track toward the Yucatan Peninsula today and enter the Gulf of Mexico by late tonight or Saturday.

Once Nate enters the Gulf, additional strengthening can be expected.

Nate is forecast to become at least a category one hurricane before making landfall along the northern Gulf Coast Saturday night or Sunday morning.

Currently, Nate is forecast to make landfall along the Mississippi, Alabama border, but this can certainly change, so it is important that you stay up to date with Channel 3's First Warning Weather Team. Absolutely do not let your guard down.

It is important that you have your hurricane-preparedness plans ready to go this weekend.

A Hurricane Warning is now in effect from Grand Isle Louisiana to the Alabama/Florida border.

A Tropical Storm Warning is now in effect for metropolitan New Orleans, Lake Pontchartrain and Lake Maurepas, and from west of Grand Isle to Morgan City Louisiana.

A Hurricane Watch is now in effect east of the Alabama/Florida border to the Okaloosa/Walton County Line.

A Tropical Storm Watch is now in effect east of the Okaloosa/Walton County Line to Indian Pass, Florida.

A Storm Surge Warning is now in effect from Morgan City Louisiana to the Alabama/Florida border, and for the northern and western shores of Lake Pontchartrain.

A Storm Surge Watch is now in effect east of the Alabama/Florida border to Indian Pass, Florida.

These watches may be extended to include additional areas. Also, these watches eventually may turn into warnings as Nate tracks closer to the Gulf Coast.

Local Impacts:

Winds: Southerly winds will increase to 30 to 40 mph and Tropical-Storm-Force wind gusts will be possible, especially the closer to the center you are. Hurricane Force winds can be expected in the hurricane warning areas.

Heavy Rain: Bands of heavy rain will be possible, leading to some localized flash flooding. Widespread totals of 3-6" with some areas up to 7"+. A flash flood watch may be issued.

Storm Surge: Northwest Florida is currently under the Storm Surge Watch. Storm Surge of 2-4' will be possible, but in Southwest Alabama, 4-7'+ may be possible.

Isolated Tornadoes: Since we will be in the northeastern quadrant, there will be a tornado risk as Nate tracks toward the Gulf Coast. As bands move onshore, some may quickly spawn tornadoes, so you must remain weather aware (#WXAWARE). Our area is under a 'marginal risk' (1/5) both Saturday and Sunday due to the isolated tornado risk.

Bottom Line: This forecast is subject to change all depending on the exact track and intensity of Nate, so again, please stay up to date with the First Warning Channel 3 Weather Team all weekend long.

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