A newly formed tropical storm in the southwestern Caribbean is
forecast to strengthen into a hurricane that could affect the
U.S. Gulf Coast.
The system, formerly a tropical depression, strengthened into a
tropical storm near the coast of Nicaragua this morning.
Tropical Storm Nate was moving across northeastern Nicaragua,
churning 50 miles northwest of Puerto Cabezas, as of 2 p.m. ET,
according to the National Hurricane
The tropical storm is pounding Nicaragua with rain heavy enough
to cause life-threatening flash floods and mudslides. Up to 30
inches of rain is possible in some areas of Central America
through Friday night.
Tropical Storm Nate is expected to be near Cancun, Mexico, by
Friday night, according to the National Hurricane Center.
A hurricane watch has already been issued for Mexico’s Yucatan
Peninsula, including Cancun.
PHOTO: Tropical Storm Nate – current satellite (ABC News)
Nate could reach hurricane status as early as Saturday while
entering the Gulf of Mexico. Its trajectory has it on track to
make landfall somewhere between New Orleans, Louisiana, and
Mobile, Alabama, on Saturday night or Sunday morning as a weak
Category 1 hurricane, with winds of about 80 mph. Then, the
storm is expected to weaken to a post-tropical system,
according to the National Hurricane Center.
But the track and the storm’s strength are subject to change.
Residents from Louisiana to Florida are being warned to monitor
the system as it approaches this weekend. The area is still
feeling the effects of hurricanes Harvey and Irma.
So far, the Atlantic has seen five major hurricanes (Category 3
or higher) during the 2017 season; two short of the record set
in 2005, when seven major hurricanes hit.