The Gulf Coast might get another hurricane this weekend. Tropical Storm Nate formed off the coast of Nicaragua on Thursday and was being blamed for five deaths in that country as it spun north toward a potential landfall in the US in days. The forecast track showed the storm could brush across the tip of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula late Friday night and then hit the Gulf Coast as a hurricane by Sunday morning, per the AP. Forecasters said hurricane conditions were possible in Mexico Friday night. As of now, Nate doesn't appear that it will be anywhere near as powerful as the recent monster storms, but CNN notes that residents in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama should keep an eye on forecasts because things can change quickly and landfall in that region seems most likely.
New Orleans in particular appears to be a direct target based on the latest forecasts, and local officials were gearing up emergency preparations, reports NOLA.com. On Thursday, the storm was centered about 30 miles northwest of Puerto Cabezas, Nicaragua, and was moving northwest at about 9mph. The US National Hurricane Center said the storm could cause dangerous flooding by dumping as much as 15 to 20 inches of rain on Nicaragua, with higher accumulations in a few places. It had maximum sustained winds of 40mph Thursday morning and was likely to strengthen over the northwestern Caribbean Sea Thursday night and Friday.