On early Saturday afternoon, Hurricane Nate’s outer bands reached the Louisiana coast. The fast-moving center of the storm is expected to reach the area southeast of New Orleans as a Category 2 Hurricane later Saturday evening, reported CNN meteorologists.
Nate’s wind and rain have already pounded Grand Isle and Port Sulphur, Louisiana. The storm, which was moving towards Louisiana at a pace of 25 mph, has sustained winds of 90 mph currently.
That makes it a Category 1 hurricane. However, it’s expected to intensify to a Category 2 by the time it makes landfall.
The governor of Louisiana, Gov. John Bel Edwards, is taking the storm very seriously, and he’s encouraging his residents to do the same. He’s advised them to treat it like a more serious storm.
"Everyone who has been told to evacuate or would like to do so (should) do it now," he said around 1 p.m. ET.
However, if evacuation hadn’t happened within three hours, then he didn’t encourage people to evacuate. Instead, he told them to stay indoors.
The storm will likely make landfall on Saturday night around Plaquemines Parish in Louisiana. This is near where Hurricane Katrina hit. That storm devastated New Orleans in 2005.
Warnings in effect
“Hurricane warnings were in effect in New Orleans, including Lake Pontchartrain, and from Grand Isle, Louisiana, east to the Alabama-Florida border,” reported CNN.
There is also a storm surge warning was in place from Morgan City, Louisiana to the Okaloosa-Walton county line in Florida, as well as along the northern and western shores of Lake Pontchartrain.
A Tropical Storm warning is still in effect as well. It’s been extended east to Indian Pass, on the Florida Panhandle.
There are also evacuation orders for portions of the coast. Those included the following.
“Evacuation orders were in place outside levees in New Orleans and Plaquemines Parish, and along the Mississippi, Alabama and Florida coasts.”
President Trump has already declared an emergency in Louisiana ahead of Nate. On Friday, he ordered federal assistance.
While Nate is only a Category 2 hurricane, it could be dangerous because its reach will be wide. CNN predicts that there will strong winds impacting areas from New Orleans to Panama City, Florida.
“Biloxi, Mississippi, could experience gusts of 100 mph,” added CNN meteorologist Chad Myers.
What is Nate expected to do?
Nate is expected to take down power lines and trees in areas spreading from Lake Charles, Louisiana, to the Florida Panhandle. That would leave approximately 1 million people without electricity.
"Preparations to protect life and property should be rushed to completion in these areas, as tropical storm conditions will first arrive in the warning area this afternoon," the hurricane center warned Saturday morning.
“Nate could drop 3 to 6 inches of rain, with 10 inches possible in some areas, from the central Gulf Coast north across the Deep South, the eastern Tennessee Valley, and the southern Appalachians through Monday, the hurricane center said. Flash flooding is a danger,” said CNN.
They continued, “Once it hits land, it looks like it's going to be very quick to move out of the area and then weaken.”
Hurricanes aren’t the only danger. Tornadoes could also begin forming late Saturday afternoon.
New Orleans is especially concerned
Mayor Mitch Landrieu warned Saturday that New Orleans could experience 6 to 9 feet of storm surge—a gradual rise in the water level caused by a major storm's wind as it nears shore.
He also reiterated a mandatory curfew. Everyone must be in their homes by 8 pm ET. The curfew ends when the storm has passed.
On high alert in Florida as well
Gov. Rick Scott of Florida declared a state of energy for 29 counties. He also ordered evacuations for Escambia and Santa Rosa counties.
"This is not the time to be complacent-do not risk your life or the life of your loved ones," he said in a statement. "Even if your home is not in the direct path of this hurricane, everyone in the Panhandle should be ready to follow your emergency plan and stay vigilant to weather alerts and updates from local officials."
Please pray for the Gulf Coast as they brace for this latest hurricane. In other news, Newsweek just claimed that the Las Vegas shooter was a Christian. Find out what kind of evidence they're using.