Tropical Storms Nate, Maria Form Nate expected to hit Mexico, while Maria churns in Caribbean By Evann Gastaldo, Newser Staff Posted Sep 8, 2011 7:39 AM CDT 1 comment Comments In this satellite handout from NOAA, Tropical Storm Maria churns in the Atlantic with sustained winds of 50 mph September 7, 2011 as seen from space. (Getty Images) (Newser) – Irene, Katia, and Lee all made not-so-nice headlines, and unfortunately there’s more where they came from: Tropical Storms Nate and Maria are currently taking shape in the Caribbean and Atlantic. Nate, formed in the southern Gulf of Mexico, is expected to drop anywhere from 2 to 8 inches of rain on parts of Mexico, and could start moving north by tomorrow—by which point it could also strengthen into a hurricane. Maria, meanwhile, has caused a tropical storm watch to go into effect for several Caribbean islands. It’s too early to say whether either will hit the US mainland, the Los Angeles Times reports, although Weather Underground notes that some weather models indicate Nate could make US landfall. Maria, on the other hand, has just an 11% chance of hitting North Carolina at this point. Weather Underground also points out that while a typical hurricane season has 10 to 11 named storms, we’ve already had 14 this year—and we’re still a few days away from the halfway point of hurricane season on Saturday.