Cozumel and Cancun brace for Tropical Storm Nate

Tropical Storm Nate churns toward US landfall

Hurricane Nate is projected to make landfall somewhere from Pensacola Florida to New Orleans.

Tropical Storm Nate claimed at least 25 lives in Central America before charting a path towards the US. The potential storm surge estimates there range from 7 to 11 feet, which is a few feet higher than forecast earlier Saturday.

Gabriel Black of New Orleans' Venetian Isles community sent his wife, a friend, and three dogs to a hotel in the city.

It could bring risky wind gusts and a high storm surge from Louisiana to the Florida panhandle.

Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant declared a state of emergency in six southernmost counties.

Earlier in the day, a state of emergency was declared in the three states, as well as in more than two dozen Florida counties. Trump has ordered federal assistance to supplement state, tribal, and local response efforts to go toward damage from Hurricane Nate.

Nate remains a strong-end category 1 hurricane in the latest update from the National Hurricane Center and has made landfall near the mouth of the Mississippi River.

The hurricane center said Nate's quick pace after landfall will bring tropical-storm force winds well inland over Alabama.

Landrieu expressed confidence in the city's fragile drainage system, saying all pumping stations were fully manned. The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency announced the opening of shelters on the coast Saturday.

A dozen casinos in MS, including the Beau Rivage and the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Biloxi, took the rare step of closing early as the storm moved in. With Nate, the city is expected to see up to 10 inches of rain.

New Orleans, 30 miles (48 km) southwest of Slidell, evacuated some residents from areas outside its levee system as the storm approached. About 2,000 people were affected.

New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu on Friday ordered an evacuation of several areas of the city, saying a mandatory curfew will go into effect before Tropical Storm Nate makes an expected landfall in the U.S. as a likely Category 1 hurricane. Hurricane watches and warnings are in effect for portions of the Gulf Coast.

Nate is expected to turn toward the north-northeast Saturday night at around 20 miles per hour, followed by movement toward the northeast on Sunday. But Nate was expected to regain some strength and make a second landfall along the coast of MS to the east. A 7 PM curfew remains in effect for the metropolitan area of New Orleans. The fire department also told residents to be alert and to monitor a credible weather source.

For our neck of the woods, Nate will essentially be a big fast-moving blob of rain, with 1-3 inches across the area, locally more, especially where upslope easterly to southeasterly winds may bank Atlantic moisture against the mountains (the Blue Ridge south of Roanoke commonly is one such zone).

"Since the system will be moving over very warm waters, we could quickly have a powerful hurricane on our hands", said AccuWeather meteorologist Dan Kottlowski.

"Your kids should be with you and ready". I advise everyone to be prepared for the possibility of power outages.

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