As predicted, tropical storm Nate strengthened to Hurricane category in the warm Mexican waters overnight and is now poised to make landfall in the US over the weekend. The states of Florida, Alabama, and Louisiana have all issued warnings to their residents.
Nate intensified quicker than expected on Friday and is forecasted to grow further on Saturday. A period of rapid strengthening is possible though unlikely. If it does, it could grow into a category 3 hurricane.
So far, the Air Force hurricane hunter airplane states that Nate will bring hurricane-force winds of 75 mph.
<blockquote class="twitter-video" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">JUST IN: <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Nate?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Nate</a> has been upgraded to a Category 1 hurricane; LATEST UPDATES –> <a href="https://t.co/C3X1auxkQz">https://t.co/C3X1auxkQz</a> (Image courtesy: <a href="https://twitter.com/NASA_SPoRT?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@NASA_SPoRT</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/NOAA?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@NOAA</a>) <a href="https://t.co/7S2MNfUvSS">pic.twitter.com/7S2MNfUvSS</a></p>— ABC13 Houston (@abc13houston) <a href="https://twitter.com/abc13houston/status/916515643981291520?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">October 7, 2017</a></blockquote>
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The storm caused 24 deaths in Central America and is calculated to hit the US early Sunday morning.
Alabama Governor Kay Ivey, having seen what previous hurricanes did to Texas and Florida, wanted her citizens to notice and delivered a very stern message: "Alabamians, you must prepare and remain vigilant — this is serious business. By Saturday noon, you should be in your safe place."
Due to the complex geography of the Gulf Coast and the unpredictability of the hurricane’s direction which can change hour per hour, to pinpoint a US landfall point is increasingly difficult at this moment, however, it is expected that the overall track will deliver Nate, together with rain and wind throughout Southeast this weekend.
New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu: "We remain focused on vulnerabilities in Venetian Isles, Lake Catherine, and Irish Bayou because these areas are outside of the levee system, and because one of the greatest threats to this storm is not necessarily interior rain, but storm surge. It is a serious concern to us. The projections are that we could see six to nine feet of surge."
Due to the hurricane expected to hit New Orleans Saturday night, a mandatory curfew will take effect Saturday at 6 p.m. and end Sunday morning.
Mayor Landrieu continued: "If we all stay informed, if we all stay alert, if we all stay prepared, ultimately, we will all be safe, which is our No. 1 priority,"