While Texas, Florida and islands in the Caribbean scramble to recover from hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, another named storm is projected to hit the United States, this time threatening the Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama coastlines.
Tropical Storm Nate, which is expected to strengthen to a hurricane during the next couple of days, is forecast to reach the eastern coast of the Yucatan peninsula early this evening before moving into the southern Gulf of Mexico tonight and beginning its approach toward the northern Gulf Coast Saturday evening.
The storm is being blamed for at least 20 deaths in Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Honduras on Thursday, according to CNN.
Tropical storm conditions are possible within the watch areas along the northern U.S. Gulf Coast beginning Saturday evening, with hurricane conditions possible in the hurricane watch area Saturday night, according to the National Hurricane Center.
Between 3 to 6 inches of rain are predicted for the region, with a maximum of a foot anticipated.
Louisiana officials declared a state of emergency and ordered some people to evacuate coastal areas and barrier islands ahead of the storm’s expected landfall early Sunday, and evacuations began at some offshore oil platforms in the Gulf, according to the Sun-Sentinel.
New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu declared a state of emergency in the city in advance of the storm, according to The Times-Picayune, anticipated to be the third hurricane to hit the United States in less than three months.
Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Texas as a Category 4 storm Aug. 25, and Hurricane Irma struck the Florida Keys as a Category 4 storm Sept. 10 — the first time on record that two Category 4 hurricanes hit the United States in the same year.
In Florida the western Panhandle was facing a potential threat, as it sat just outside the eastern edge of Nate’s three-day forecast cone but inside the edge of the five-day cone.