All eyes are on Tropical Storm Nate as it churns towards the Gulf of Mexico — the storm is currently just east of the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico, over some very warm water in the western Caribbean:
The National Hurricane Center’s forecast brings Nate northward into the Gulf tonight, then onshore just east of New Orleans as a Category One hurricane late Saturday night:
It’s quite possible that Nate will strengthen more than that, since the water in the Gulf is still bathtub-warm. The NHC is counting on Nate’s rapid forward progress (over 20 mph, which is fast for a tropical system) to prevent further intensification. Even if Nate is “just” a Cat-1 storm, coastal erosion, flooding rains and storm surge will all be significant threats along the Gulf Coast. If you have family or friends planning to head down that way for fall break, encourage them to wait until the storm has passed by. Once Nate moves inland and weakens, the center of circulation will stay off to our southeast:
That’s a good thing, but we’ll still feel the influence of the storm over the weekend.
Here in the Midstate, we’ll see increasing clouds on Saturday with increasing rain chances, especially after sunset, as the moisture associated with Nate begins to surge northward. The high-resolution North American model’s radar simulation from 7am Saturday through 7pm Sunday shows waves of rain setting up…heaviest to the northwest of Nashville Saturday night, heaviest to the east of I-65 on Sunday:
A few of Saturday’s storms could be strong if they get going in the afternoon, but at the moment the Storm Prediction Center hasn’t included us in any severe-weather risk outlooks. Temperatures will still be warm on Saturday, beginning in the mid 60s, and topping out in the mid 80s despite the cloud cover:
The best area-wide chance of rain heads our way on Sunday (again, see the radar simulation above). We’ll see a few lingering showers on Monday, then another good chance of showers and thunderstorms on Tuesday. All told, 2 to 5 inches of rain will add up across the Midstate over the next five days:
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