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Nate Trending West, but Confidence “Lower than Normal”

The National Hurricane Center continues to express “lower-than-normal confidence” in the forecast for Tropical Storm Nate and the potential impacts to the United States.
Since the first advisory was issued Wednesday, the track forecast has shifted roughly 200 miles to the west. At face value, this certainly places less of Florida in the path of potential direct hazards from the tropical storm. However, considering the high amount of uncertainty that still exists in Nate’s track and strength, all Floridians in hurricane prone areas along the Gulf Coast from Tampa to Pensacola should stay vigilant and stay informed.

Nate become the season’s 14th named storm Thursday as it approached the coast of Nicaragua with maximum winds around 40 mph. The forecast over the next 36 hours includes a trip over Nicaragua, some time back over the warm waters of the western Caribbean, then potentially a short amount of time over across portions of the Yucatan Peninsula. The land-water interactions will make it difficult for Nate to strengthen quickly, but it will likely emerge into the southern Gulf of Mexico a little stronger than it is now.

As Tropical Storm Nate moves over the very warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico, which would argue for strengthening, atmospheric conditions are forecast to become marginally favorable for cyclone intensification with time. Increasing winds aloft could counter the warm waters to allow for only modest intensification before landfall along the Central Gulf Coast States. The official forecast is for Nate to be a Category 1 hurricane and make landfall somewhere between central Louisiana and the western Florida Panhandle Saturday night or early Sunday morning.

Story by Meteorologist Jeff Huffman at Floridastorms.org
WKGC is Florida Public Radio Emergency Network Station for NW Florida

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