As expected Hurricane Nate has intensified since entering the Gulf of Mexico and is moving very quickly. Nate is now a category one storm with a projection to increase in intensity prior to landfall tonight around New Orleans Louisiana. NHC HERE
[Latest Warnings] At 1000 AM CDT (1500 UTC), the center of Hurricane Nate was located near latitude 26.6 North, longitude 88.4 West. Nate is moving rapidly toward the north-northwest near 26 mph (43 km/h), and this general motion is expected to continue through this evening. A turn toward the north is forecast tonight, followed by a turn toward the northeast. On the forecast track, the center of Nate will move across the northern Gulf of Mexico today and will make landfall along the central U.S. Gulf Coast tonight.
Reports from NOAA and Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter aircraft indicate that maximum sustained winds have increased to near 90 mph (150 km/h) with higher gusts. Additional strengthening is expected before landfall, and Nate is forecast to be a category 2 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale when the center reaches the Gulf Coast.
[Good Tips and Information From Bryan Norcross] SATURDAY MIDDAY update on HURRICANE STORM NATE: This is an update on this morning’s post. Nate has continued to organize and strengthen, and the process is expected to continue as the storm races toward impact on the northern Gulf coast in the late evening or near midnight.
The suggestion made here over the last couple days that people should be ready for a Category 2 is turning out to be correct. Top winds are estimated at 90 mph this morning, and there is time for some strengthening to 100 mph or higher.
Because Nate is moving so fast, the winds will only slowly spin down over land, and continue to blow hard as the storm moves inland across Mississippi, Alabama, and northern Georgia. Power outages could be a significant problem. Some tornadoes are also likely to the east of the track of the storm.
The threat of the Gulf water being pushed over the coastline at dangerous depths is high. The northern Gulf coast is extremely vulnerable to storm surge. Any hurricane can produce life-threatening surge in vulnerable locations, even a Category 1, and of course, a Category 2 would push the water higher. There are many threatened areas along the central Gulf coast, but Mobile Bay is of special concern because it opens to the south allowing the storm surge in.
The National Hurricane Center is now forecasting the storm surge to reach 7 to 11 feet above normally dry ground in low-lying areas along from extreme southeastern Louisiana through Mississippi and Alabama. This is an extremely dangerous situation. Dangerous surge will affect the Florida Panhandle and other parts of southeastern Louisiana as well.
There will be huge difference in the impacts from Nate to the right (the east) versus the left of where the center comes ashore. The storm’s rapid forward speed adds to the forward motion of the air on the right side and subtracts on the left accounting for the difference. This means that the exact landfall point is critical to who gets the worst of the wind and surge.
The best evidence is that landfall will be just to the east of New Orleans, while it’s still possible the worst winds will affect the city. It is very likely, however, that most of Mississippi, Alabama, and the western Florida Panhandle will get the push of storm surge and very strong winds off the water. The worst effects in terms of wind and surge will be in those areas closest and within about 25 miles to the east of the center, though major effects will occur much farther east than that.
This is it – the last chance for people on the Gulf coast and inland in the path of the high winds to prepare. The winds will pick up at the coast by late afternoon and peak around midnight plus or minus.
Conditions will quickly improve at the coast on Sunday as the strong winds rapidly spread north through the day. The surge will not necessarily peak with the strongest winds.
Heavy rain will accompany the remnants of Nate as it tracks across the Deep South toward the Northeast U.S.
Be aware of all local instructions and information, which will change if the storm more rapidly strengthens or changes course.
Here are the KEY MESSAGES from the National Hurricane Center’s 10:00 AM ET advisory, and below are 20 steps that can still be taken to prepare:
1. Nate is expected to bring life-threatening storm surge flooding near and well east of where the center makes landfall, and a storm surge warning is in effect from Morgan City, Louisiana, to the Okaloosa/Walton county line in Florida. Maximum flooding of 7 to 11 feet above ground level is expected in portions of southeastern Louisiana and along the Mississippi coast. Residents in these areas should immediately heed any evacuation instructions given by local
2. Nate is forecast to reach Category 2 intensity before landfall. A hurricane warning is in effect for portions of the northern Gulf Coast from Louisiana to Alabama, with the strongest winds expected to occur primarily to the east of the center. Preparations to protect life and property should be rushed to completion in these areas, as tropical storm conditions will first arrive in the warning area this afternoon.
3. Nate’s fast forward speed after landfall will bring tropical-storm-force winds well inland across portions of the southeastern U.S. Tropical storm watches and warnings are in effect for portions of southeastern Mississippi, Alabama, and western Georgia.
4. Nate will bring heavy rainfall of 3 to 6 inches with isolated totals of 10 inches east of the Mississippi River from the central Gulf Coast into the Deep South, eastern Tennessee Valley, and southern Appalachians through Monday, resulting in the potential for flash flooding in these areas.
5. Moisture from Nate interacting with a frontal zone will also bring 2 to 4 inches of rain with isolated totals of 6 inches across the Ohio Valley and central Appalachians Sunday and Monday, which will increase the risk for flash flooding across these locations.
Here are 20 ideas for preparation that we used for Hurricane Irma, plus a number sent in by readers of these posts. They are the things you should think about in the affected areas along the Gulf coast and inland where the winds could be a threat. Not all preparation steps are necessary for all areas, but they are good to know and think about.
1. Do NOT park your car under a tree or in an area that could flood. Put it in a safe place even if you have to walk home. A parking garage is the best, on a floor above the ground.
2. Try to get LED flashlights and lanterns. They last much longer. Have at least one flashlight for every person in your family, and ideally have a lantern or two for general lighting.
3. Get a portable radio and plenty of batteries so your whole family can listen to news coverage if the power goes out. Do NOT depend on your cellphone for communications.
4. If there is a chance of the storm damaging your home, take photos today of every room, every piece of electronics, and everything valuable. Upload the pictures to the cloud – Dropbox, Microsoft Cloud, iCloud, Google Drive, etc.
5. Also take picture of key documents and upload them as well. You can still do that today.
6. Save your contacts in your phone to the cloud. If you don’t know how to do that, frame grab your screen or have someone take photos of your contacts with their phone and email or text the pictures back to you to a friend. Don’t take a chance on losing your contacts if something happens to your phone.
7. If you are concerned about damage to your home, secure your photographs and albums in double plastic bags.
8. Keep your important documents – including passports and birth certificates – in gallons-size (or larger) Ziploc bags. Put larger items in double large trash bags cocooned so the opening of the first bag is in the bottom of the second bag. Put some clothes in plastic bags in case you get a roof leak. Duct tape bags closed. Put valuables on a high shelf in a closet if flooding is a threat.
9. Do your laundry and wash your dishes before the storm. Buy some clothesline and clothes pins. You might not have power to dry clothes after the storm.
10. Your dishwasher is an excellent “safe” in your house if you need someplace to put valuables. Your washer and dryer can offer good protection as well. These could be good places to put your plastic-bagged photos, for example.
11. If you have not yet filled Ziploc bags ¾ full of water and stuffed them in your freezer to fill up the space, it’s too late. They won’t freeze. Instead, fill bags with ice and fill your freezer the best you can. The less air you have in the freezer, the longer your refrigerator will stay cold if your power goes out. Do NOT turn your refrigerator to any lower setting than normal – that can damage the unit.
12. Buy a plastic sheet – the kind you’d use as a drop cloth for painting – to line your bath tub. Line the bath tub and fill it with water before the storm. You’ll use this water to flush the toilet if the city water goes out. A sauce pan is a good scoop. Fill the tank and your toilet will work like normal.
13. Get gas and cash.
14. Think about what you are going to do to entertain yourself and the kids if you are stuck at home because a tree is blocking your street. Remember, you may not have power.
15. Be sure you have an adapter so you can charge your cellphone in a car, have extra chargers, and back-up batteries if you can.
16. Pick up your yard and anything that might blow in the wind. Bring in pool or patio furniture. Don’t put it in the water because it can damage the pool.
17. Consider buying an indoor antenna for your TV if you have cable. If the cable is out, but you have power, you will still be able to see local TV. Program your TV before the storm so the local channels are all set up.
18. Have lots of towels ready to put around the windows and doors.
19. Check the shopping list attached below from Brevard County, Florida. It’s good, except I recommend an AM/FM portable radio so you can keep up with news coverage.
20. Don’t forget your prescriptions. And if you leave home, take a list of your prescriptions with you.