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Hurricane Nate Strengthens As Its Eye Focuses On U.S. Gulf Coast

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Then-Tropical Storm Nate caused damage near Goascoran, Honduras, Friday and was blamed for several deaths across Central America. It strengthened to a hurricane as it made its way toward the U.S. Gulf Coast.

Orlando Sierra/AFP/Getty Images


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Orlando Sierra/AFP/Getty Images

Then-Tropical Storm Nate caused damage near Goascoran, Honduras, Friday and was blamed for several deaths across Central America. It strengthened to a hurricane as it made its way toward the U.S. Gulf Coast.

Orlando Sierra/AFP/Getty Images

As Hurricane Nate churns over the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico toward American shores, it is growing in strength and speed after leaving a trail of devastation in Central America.

In its 7 a.m., advisory, the National Hurricane Center said the Category 1 storm was located about 245 miles south southeast of the mouth of the Mississippi River and headed north northwest with maximum sustained winds of 85 mph.

“We are expecting Nate to continue to strengthen today (Saturday),” said Mike Brennan, senior hurricane specialist with the NHC. “We are expecting the hurricane to make landfall on the north central Gulf Coast late tonight or early Sunday morning.”

Projected three-day path of Hurricane Nate.

National Hurricane Center


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National Hurricane Center

A hurricane warning is in effect from Grand Isle near the southern tip of Louisiana stretching to the Alabama/Florida border, including metropolitan New Orleans and the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

“Everybody in this area needs to prepare for hurricane force winds,” Brennan said, adding, “we are very concerned about storm surge.”

A storm surge warning covers much of the region, including around Lake Pontchartrain in the New Orleans area. Forecasters said flood waters could reach 9 feet above ground level, “so that is life-threatening,” Brennan said.

“The deepest water will occur along the immediate coast near and to the east of the landfall location, where the surge will be accompanied by large and destructive waves,” the NHC said in its advisory.

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards is asking residents to be prepared for the storm by 8 p.m., local time Saturday, with supplies stockpiled and avoiding being on the roads. “This is going to be a nighttime event,” he said while landfall is expected “very early on Sunday morning.”

A mandatory curfew begins at 7 p.m., local time Saturday in New Orleans and lasts “until the risk has passed,” said the city police department in a statement.

Grand Isle is under a mandatory evacuation as are parts of New Orleans that fall outside the city’s storm protection system, reports The Times-Picayune.

Officials in Mississippi recommended evacuations for all low-lying areas and for people living near waterways and in mobile homes.

On Friday President Trump approved an emergency declaration for Louisiana, authorizing the Department of Homeland Security and FEMA to coordinate relief efforts.

Also Friday, Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant signed a State of Emergency and authorized the use of State National Guard troops.

“Regardless of where the storm makes actual landfall, we face the possibility of widespread power outages and storm surge flooding,” Bryant said in a statement. “I ask everyone to please have a plan, especially those that live in mobile homes and low-lying areas.”

Earlier in the week, Nate was a weaker Tropical Storm, but heavy wind and rain and subsequent flooding were blamed for several deaths in Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Honduras and El Salvador.

Article source: http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/10/07/556334601/hurricane-nate-strengthens-as-its-eye-focuses-on-u-s-gulf-coast?utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=news



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