Hurricane Nate could make landfall as a Cat 3 Hurricane as New Orleans evacuates!

Located over the Southern Gulf of Mexico, Nate continues to strengthen as it barrels towards the Northern Gulf Coast of the U.S.

After being upgraded to a Category 1 hurricane at 10pm CDT, Nate has continued to gradually strengthen and currently now has max winds of 80mph, with higher gusts.

Nate is likely to continue strengthening over the next 24-30hrs while it remains in a favorable low shear, moisture-rich, and thermodynamic environment.

The official NHC forecast brings Nate onshore early Sunday morning near SE LA as an 85mph CAT 1 hurricane. I will note, however, that the SHIPS model does indicate a 50/50 chance of Rapid Intensification (RI) occurring within 24hrs, a 30knot + increase in winds.

Therefore, I would prepare for a CAT 2 or 3 hurricane. This hurricane is likely to be much stronger than originally forecasted at the time of landfall.

In addition, Nate is expected to produce locally heavy rainfall and flooding, damaging hurricane force winds, isolated tornadoes (mainly North and East of the center), and dangerous storm surge.

Due to Nate’s fast forward speed, the threat of flooding has been greatly reduced, however, it still remains a threat to life and property.

In preparation of these expected impacts, local NWS Officials have issued Hurricane and Tropical Storm Watches and Warnings, as well as Storm Surge Warnings from SE LA eastward to the FL Panhandle.

These impacts are expected to arrive in the warning area by Saturday evening.

It is also important to remember that impacts from this hurricane can and will be felt well away from the center. I urge all local residents to complete preparations and/or evacuations by early Saturday.

SUMMARY OF WATCHES AND WARNINGS IN EFFECT:

A Hurricane Warning is in effect for…
* Grand Isle Louisiana to the Alabama/Florida border
* Metropolitan New Orleans and Lake Pontchartrain

A Storm Surge Warning is in effect for…
* Morgan City Louisiana to the Okaloosa/Walton County Line Florida
* Northern and western shores of Lake Pontchartrain

A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for…
* Punta Herrero to Rio Lagartos Mexico
* Pinar del Rio Cuba
* Lake Maurepas
* West of Grand Isle to Morgan City Louisiana
* East of the Alabama/Florida border to the Okaloosa/Walton County
Line.

A Hurricane Watch is in effect for…
* Lake Maurepas
* East of the Alabama/Florida border to the Okaloosa/Walton County
Line
* West of Grand Isle to Morgan City Louisiana

A Storm Surge Watch is in effect for…
* East of the the Okaloosa/Walton County Line to Indian Pass Florida

A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for…
* East of the Okaloosa/Walton County Line to Indian Pass Florida
* West of Morgan City to Intracoastal City Louisiana
* Isle of Youth Cuba