With just weeks having passed since Hurricane Harvey demolished southern Texas, Hurricane Irma devastated the Florida Keys and Hurricane Maria wiped out Puerto Rico, a new storm, Tropical Storm Nate, has just formed in the Southern Caribbean and looks set to strengthen to a hurricane just before making landfall in the Gulf this weekend.
As AccuWeather points out this morning, Nate is currently expected to make landfall somewhere between Louisiana and the Florida panhandle as a Cat-1 storm on Sunday even though they warn that it could strengthen rapidly once it hits the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico.
Tropical Depression 16 has strengthened to Tropical Storm Nate near the Atlantic coast of Nicaragua and will threaten part of the southern United States as a hurricane this weekend.
Since Nate will be moving inland over the U.S. this weekend, people may have little time to react and prepare for a tropical storm or hurricane.
"Nate will make landfall along the U.S. upper Gulf coast on Sunday," according to AccuWeather Meteorologist Brett Rossio.
The U.S. Gulf coast areas from Florida to Alabama, Mississippi and southeastern Louisiana may be at risk for damaging winds, coastal flooding, rough surf and beach erosion this weekend and into early next week.
"In all likelihood, this storm will impact areas not severely impacted by Harvey or Irma. The extent of the damage will depend, of course, on the precise path and whether the storm intensifies beyond a Category 1 storm," AccuWeather Founder, President and Chairman Dr. Joel N. Myers said. "The most likely place for it to hit is the Florida Panhandle."
Meanwhile, unlike Hurricane Irma, most of the models for Hurricane Nate are fairly consistent and see the storm moving directly north through the Gulf then turning to northeast to follow the eastern U.S. shorline. Here are more details from the National Hurricane Center:
At 800 AM EDT (1200 UTC), the center of Tropical Storm Nate was located near latitude 13.9 North, longitude 83.4 West. Nate is moving toward the northwest near 8 mph (13 km/h), and this motion is expected to continue this morning. A north-northwestward motion at a faster forward speed is forecast to begin later today and continue through Friday night. On the forecast track, the center of Nate should move across northeastern Nicaragua and eastern Honduras today and then over the northwestern Caribbean Sea tonight and Friday. The center is expected to approach the coast of the Yucatan peninsula late Friday.
Maximum sustained winds are near 40 mph (65 km/h) with higher gusts. Little change in strength is expected today as the center of Nate moves across northeastern Nicaragua and eastern Honduras. Strengthening is likely over the northwestern Caribbean Sea tonight and Friday.
Tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 60 miles (95 km) mainly over water to the east of the center.
And while Nate's wind speeds are tame compared to Hurricane Irma (at least for now)....
WIND: Tropical storm conditions are expected within portions of the warning area in Nicaragua and Honduras today and tonight. Tropical storm and hurricane conditions are possible within the watch area in Mexico beginning late Friday.
...it is expected to dump a massive 15-30 inches of rain in Nicaragua.
RAINFALL: Nate is expected to produce the following rain accumulations through Friday night:
- Nicaragua...15 to 20 inches, isolated 30 inches
- Costa Rica and Panama...5 to 10 inches, isolated 20 inches
- Honduras and Belize...2 to 5 inches, isolated 8 inches
- Eastern portions of the Yucatan peninsula...4 to 8 inches, isolated 12 inches
Heavy rainfall will occur over a wide area, including locations well away from the center along the Pacific coast of Central America. This rainfall could cause life-threatening flash floods and mudslides.
Of course, just like with Hurricane Harvey, energy traders will be hyper focused this weekend on how/if the massive network of Gulf drilling platforms will be impacted by yet another storm.