A Hurricane Watch is in effect for...
* Morgan City Louisiana to the Mississippi/Alabama border
* Metropolitan New Orleans
* Lake Pontchartrain and Lake Maurepas
* Punta Herrero to Rio Lagartos Mexico
Although Nate remains a minimal tropical storm and is still more than 900 miles south of New Orleans, this tropical system will cross over some of the warmest waters in the Northern Hemisphere today, and is expected to intensify into a hurricane over the next 24 hours.
The models have all come into good alignment, and their track takes a hurricane strength Nate into the northern Gulf Coast in just over 48 hours.Intensity forecasts are less reliable than forecast tracks, but for now the NHC is forecasting Nate to be a CAT 1 storm at landfall. While not a wind monster like Irma or Maria, or a rain heavy slow-mover like Harvey, this storm should still be taken seriously.
Hurricane warnings likely likely be raised for the northern Gulf Coast later today. Here are this morning's key messages:
Since Nate is expected to scoot across the Gulf of Mexico rapidly, Gulf coast residents won't have the 4 or 5 days of warning that Florida and Texas had before their storms. People will essentially have today, and the daylight hours on Saturday to prepare, and to evacuate if needed.
As always, listen to the advice of your local officials and your local NWS forecast.And while storm weary residents can hope this is the last hurrah for this 2017 Hurricane season, there are still 9 weeks left to the Atlantic tropical season. Late season storms can, and do, appear and the smart money rides on being prepared 12 months out of the year.