David Hubler

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By David E. Hubler
Contributor, EDM Digest

Tropical storm Nate spent most of Thursday above Central America, where it was blamed for 22 deaths before moving back over water early Friday.

Alabama Governor Kay Ivey has issued a state of emergency in preparation for Nate’s arrival on Sunday as a Category 1 hurricane. Ivey’s declaration “frees up supplies and personnel that may be needed after Nate makes landfall,” the Mobile Press Register reports.

Forecasts predict Nate will approach Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula by Friday night. It will enter the Gulf of Mexico by early Saturday morning on its way toward the U.S. Gulf Coast.

The storm is expected to make landfall in eastern Louisiana, but “some of its worst weather could be felt far to the east of its center,” the Press Register said.

High Risk of Dangerous Rip Currents from Alabama to Florida

There is a high risk of dangerous rip currents for coastal Alabama and northwest Florida throughout the weekend, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) in Miami notes. “Life-threatening storm surge flooding is likely along portions of the northern Gulf Coast.”

A storm surge warning has been issued from Morgan City, Louisiana, to the Alabama-Florida border. “Residents in these areas should heed any evacuation instructions given by local officials,” the NHC advises.

Officials in Baldwin County, Alabama, have issued a voluntary evacuation recommendation for areas south of Alabama Highway 182 (Beach Boulevard) in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach and the Fort Morgan peninsula beginning this morning. A voluntary evacuation recommendation has also been issued for the Causeway (U.S. 90) in Spanish Fort.

Nate: Heavy Rain and Strong Winds Forecast for Saturday along the Gulf Coast

Strong winds and heavy rain will increase on the Gulf Coast late tonight and through the day Saturday. A storm surge of one to three inches is possible on the Alabama Gulf Coast and through the western part of the Florida Panhandle, ABC33/40 TV in Birmingham warns. A few isolated tornadoes are possible as well tomorrow.

Weather conditions are expected to slowly improve by Sunday afternoon as Nate moves northward.