The continental United States may not have seen its last major storm of the season: Tropical Storm Nate, which passed over Nicaragua on Thursday morning, is expected to intensify into a Category 1 hurricane by the time it hits the Gulf Coast on either Saturday or Sunday.
“Residents along the Gulf Coast from Louisiana through the Florida Panhandle should monitor the progress of this system and heed any advice given by local officials,” the National Weather Service said, warning of “direct impacts from wind, storm surge, and heavy rainfall.”
“However, it is too early to specify the timing, location, or magnitude of these impacts,” the agency warned.
— NHC Atlantic Ops (@NHC_Atlantic) October 5, 2017
Only when the storm begins to move north of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula will forecasters be able to estimate where exactly Nate will make landfall, AccuWeather reported. However, areas still recovering from recent hurricanes should not expect to be battered by another strong weather system this soon.
“In all likelihood, this storm will impact areas not severely impacted by Harvey or Irma,” AccuWeather President Dr. Joel N. Myers said. “The extent of the damage will depend, of course, on the precise path and whether the storm intensifies beyond a Category 1 storm.”
That is because most storms in the Gulf of Mexico in October so far have not made landfall in Texas and have instead moved farther to the east, meaning that Nate would have to veer dramatically to the west to hit the parts of Texas and Louisiana that were pounded by Harvey.
Perhaps the biggest concern about Nate is that the storm could intensify so rapidly that a strong hurricane catches residents off-guard.
“Since the system will be moving over very warm waters, we could quickly have a powerful hurricane on our hands,” said AccuWeather Hurricane Expert Dan Kottlowski.