The Hurricane Watch Net (HWN) is closely monitoring tropical storm Nate, which is expected to become a Category 1 hurricane by the time it reaches the Gulf of Mexico. The system is currently about 230 miles south-southeast of Cozumel, Mexico, maintaining maximum sustained winds of 45 MPH and moving to the north-northwest at 14 MPH — a marked increase in forward velocity.
The National Hurricane Center (NHC) has posted a hurricane watch from Morgan City, Louisiana, to the Mississippi/Alabama border; metropolitan New Orleans, Lake Pontchartrain, and Lake Maurepas, and from Punta Herrero to Rio Lagartos, Mexico. Offshore oil-drilling platforms in the Gulf are being evacuated. The storm will move into the southern Gulf of Mexico tonight and approach the northern Gulf Coast on Saturday evening, the NHC said.
“As a result, the Hurricane Watch Net is now at Alert Level 3 — Standby Mode,” HWN Manager Bobby Graves, KB5HAV, said. “As of now, we are looking at a possible net activation at 1800 UTC on Saturday.”
The NHC warns of continued heavy rainfall generated by the storm, with southern Honduras and western Nicaragua predicted to receive 6 to 10 inches (maximum of 15 inches); eastern El Salvador and northern to central Honduras, 3 to 5 inches (maximum of 8 inches), eastern Yucatan and western Cuba, 2 to 4 inches (maximum of 8 inches), eastern Belize and the Cayman Islands, 1 to 3 inches, and the US central Gulf Coast states, 3 to 6 inches (maximum of 12 inches).
“Heavy rainfall will occur over a wide area, including locations well away from the [storm’s] center along the Pacific coast of Central America,” the NHC said. “Rainfall across all of these areas may produce life-threatening flash floods and mudslides.
Tropical storm-force winds extend about 90 miles from the storm’s center.