Tropical Storm Nate forms near Nicaragua, could hit U.S. Gulf Coast

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Tropical Storm Nate formed in the Caribbean Sea on Thursday as it began to make landfall on the coast of Nicaragua. The storm is expected to move over Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula before heading towards the U.S. Gulf coast.

As of 8 a.m. ET on Thursday, the center of Tropical Storm Nate was located about 15 kilometers (10 miles) south of Puerto Cabezas, which is located on the coast of northeast Nicaragua. Its maximum winds have increased to 65 kilometers (40 miles) per hour with higher gusts.

Nate will move over northeast Nicaragua and eastern Honduras on Thursday before moving back over water on early Friday, which will allow it to regain any strength lost due to interaction with land. Nate is then expected to move over the tip of the Yucatan Peninsula on late Friday as it enters the Gulf of Mexico.

“Some additional strengthening is possible while the system moves over the southern and central Gulf of Mexico, and the NHC intensity forecast brings the system to hurricane strength within 72 hours,” said Daniel Brown, a hurricane specialist at the U.S. National Hurricane Center.

Forecasters expect Nate to affect portions of the northern Gulf Coast as a category one hurricane on Sunday, with direct impacts from wind, storm surge, and heavy rainfall. “However, it is too early to specify the timing, location, or magnitude of these impacts,” Brown said.

As of Thursday, a tropical storm warning is in effect from Sandy Bay Sirpi in northeast Nicaragua until Punta Castilla in eastern Honduras, and a hurricane watch is in effect from Punta Herrero to Rio Lagartos in Mexico. Residents along the U.S. Gulf Coast from Louisiana through the Florida Panhandle are advised to monitor the progress of Nate.

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