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Tropical Storm Nate develops, heads for northern Gulf

Tropical Storm Nate is now moving over Honduras towards the northwest, but is expected to move back over water soon. Next it crosses the tip of the Yucutan Peninsula, and then it moves over the warm Gulf of Mexico headed towards New Orleans.  The current forecast cone of the storm has moved west from yesterday’s cone, which is good news for Georgians since the center of winds will be farther away from us, but bad news for Alabamians, who will now be closer to the action. Nate is expected to strengthen once it gets back over water, especially when it moves over the Gulf, and should hit the US coast as a category 1 hurricane (although considering water temperatures it could be stronger than that). Most likely it will make landfall late Saturday night or early Sunday morning. After that it will get caught up in the mid-latitude westerlies and will accelerate to the northeast. People in areas to the right of the path of the center of circulation will see the heaviest rain (up to 4 inches), highest wind gusts, and a chance of small tornadoes, while areas to the left of the path will see less winds and rain and little chance of tornadoes, so the actual path the storm takes is key. Pay attention to your local forecast from the National Weather Service or other reputable outlets for updated information, since some changes may occur to the forecast cone, as they did with Irma.

Like in any tropical storm, you should prepare for power outages and tree falls, especially since many trees were damaged earlier by Hurricane Irma and may already have been weakened. Take loose outdoor items and pets indoors to prevent damage and injury. Flooding may be somewhat lower than usual due to recent dry conditions across most of the region, but low-lying areas could still be dangerous places. Total rainfall accumulations at any location will be reduced by the speed of the storm. Some areas close to the center of the path may experience more extreme conditions than they did in Irma due to their differing paths, but since the storm will be moving pretty fast, the worst conditions will not last as long.

If you have outdoor activities planned this weekend or on Monday, you may be affected by the storm, although by Monday afternoon Nate will have moved out of the region. However, windy conditions and rain may continue after Nate moves off to the northeast for some time.