Updates: Nate strengthens to a hurricane

By: Brittney Donovan , Action News Jax

Updated:

HURRICANE NATE: Latest forecast track 

8 a.m. Saturday update: Hurricane Nate gained force as it continued rapidly moving over the central Gulf of Mexico early Saturday after drenching Central America in rain that was blamed for at least 21 deaths. Forecasters said it was likely to reach the U.S. Gulf Coast over the weekend.

Louisiana and Mississippi officials declared states of emergency and Louisiana ordered some people to evacuate coastal areas and barrier islands ahead of its expected landfall Saturday night or early Sunday. Evacuations began at some offshore oil platforms in the Gulf.

Mississippi's government said it would open 11 evacuation shelters in areas away from the immediate coast, with buses available for people who can't drive.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center warned that Nate could raise sea levels by 4 to 7 feet (1.2 to 2.1 meters) from Morgan City, Louisiana, to the Alabama-Florida border. It had already had caused deadly flooding in much of Central America. -- The Associated Press

11:36 p.m. Friday update: Nate has strengthened to a Hurricane.

An Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter aircraft penetrated the center of Nate and reported hurricane-force winds. The maximum winds are estimated to be 75 mph (120 km/h) with higher gusts.

11 p.m. Friday update: Tropical Storm Nate's winds reached 70 miles per hour as it moved north northwest.

5 p.m. Friday update: Tropical Storm Nate's winds are up to 60 miles per hour as it moves north.

Additional strengthening is forecast during the next 36 hours and Nate is expected to become
a hurricane by the time it reaches the northern Gulf of Mexico.

Nate is expected to move into the southern Gulf of Mexico tonight, approach the northern Gulf coast Saturday and make landfall over the northern Gulf coast Saturday night or Sunday.

2 p.m. Friday update: Tropical Storm Nate is expected to strengthen to a Category 1 Hurricane as it nears the United States.

Nate's center is quickly moving toward the northeastern tip of the Yucatan peninsula and channel.

Its winds remain at 50 miles per hour. Tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 115 miles
mainly to the east of the center. 

11 a.m. Friday update: Tropical Storm Nate is strengthening as it moves north toward the Gulf of Mexico.

Air Force Reserve and NOAA Hurricane Hunter aircraft report that maximum sustained winds are up to 50 mph with higher gusts.  

Additional strengthening is forecast during the next couple of days, and Nate is expected to become a hurricane by the time it reaches the northern Gulf of Mexico.

Tropical Storm Nate is moving toward the north-northwest at approximately 21 mph. This motion is expected to continue through Saturday with a turn toward the north and northeast expected Saturday night and Sunday.

On the forecast track, the center of Nate will move across the northwestern Caribbean Sea today, and move near or over the northeastern coast of the Yucatan peninsula this evening.  

Nate will then move into the southern Gulf of Mexico tonight, approach the northern Gulf coast Saturday, and then move near or over the northern Gulf coast Saturday night or Sunday.

5 a.m. Friday update: Nate is moving toward the north-northwest at approximately 14 mph and this general track with a marked increase in forward speed is expected during the next day or
two.

Maximum sustained winds are near 45 mph with higher gusts. Strengthening is expected during the next couple of days and Nate is expected to become a hurricane by the time it reaches the northern Gulf of Mexico.

Nate is not expected to have a direct impact for the local area.

Local areas should, however, expect scattered heavy showers and storms over the weekend.

11 p.m. Thursday update: Tropical Storm Nate's latest track shows it making landfall west of Florida Sunday. 

Nate sped up slightly and is now moving toward the northwest at approximately 12 mph.

A turn toward the north-northwest is expected overnight, with Nate accelerating along that heading
through Saturday.

Nate will then move into the southern Gulf of Mexico Friday night and approach the northern Gulf coast Saturday evening.

5 p.m. Thursday update: The latest track for Tropical Storm Nate shows it making landfall west of Florida Sunday as a tropical storm. 

Nate sped up slightly and is now moving toward the north-northwest at approximately 10 mph.

This motion is expected to continue during the next couple of days with a significant increase in forward speed.  

Nate is expected to move into the Gulf of Mexico on Saturday and make landfall west of Florida Sunday.

2:30 p.m. Thursday update: Gov. Rick Scott has declared a state of emergency for 29 counties in Florida in preparation for Tropical Storm Nate's expected landfall.

Nate is expected to strengthen to a Category 1 Hurricane as it nears the U.S. 

It is expected to make landfall west of Florida.

Maximum sustained winds are near 40 mph with higher gusts. Little change in strength is expected today while the center is over land.  

Strengthening is likely once the center moves over the northwestern Caribbean Sea tonight and Friday.

11 a.m. Thursday update: Tropical Storm Nate's updated track shows the storm staying west of our local area.

It is expected to make landfall west of Florida Sunday morning as a Category 1 Hurricane.

Nate is moving toward the northwest at approximately 9 mph.  

The center of the storm is expected to move across northeastern Nicaragua and eastern Honduras today and then over the northwestern Caribbean Sea tonight and Friday.  

A turn toward the north-northwest at a faster forward speed is expected later today with that motion continuing through Friday night.  

8 a.m. Thursday update: Tropical Depression 16 is now Tropical Storm Nate near the coast of Nicaragua and is now moving at 8 mph with winds of 40 mph. 

5 a.m. Thursday Update: 
Tropical Depression 16 is a forecast to make landfall late this weekend along the Gulf coast.

Thursday's 5 a.m. update from National Hurricane Center shifts the storm track slightly towards the west.

The tropical depression is currently spinning along the coast of Nicaragua and is likely to become tropical Storm Nate Friday before strengthening to a hurricane early Sunday morning in the Gulf of Mexico.

Landfall is expected somewhere from eastern Louisiana to Mississippi, Alabama or the far western Florida panhandle Sunday evening as a category 1 hurricane.  

With this current forecast track, Jacksonville will have hot and humid weather this weekend with scattered afternoon showers and storms.

Original Story: 

Tropical Depression 16 has formed in the Caribbean and is expected to become Tropical Storm Nate by Wednesday evening.

The tropical depression is moving northwest at approximately 6 miles per hour.

It is expected to bring torrential rains to portions of Central America as it nears the coast of Nicaragua early Thursday and moves across Nicaragua and eastern Honduras late Thursday. 

It will emerge into the northwestern Caribbean Sea on Friday on its current forecast track.

From Talking the Tropics with Mike Buresh: Initial land interaction with Central America and the Yucatan Peninsula could limit overall strengthening in the short term though Tropical Depression 16 may still manage to become Nate while it flirts with land areas.  

Forecast models are not much help solving the details for right now.

They have converged on the idea of a tropical system moving over the Gulf of Mexico but with large differences in track, speed of movement and intensity. 

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