Tropical Storm Nate may drive into the U.S. Gulf Coast on the weekend. CNN says it will likely intensify into a minor hurricane by the time it hits.
Right now, Nate is forecasted to hit New Orleans. That’s especially bad for the city, which has a compromised drainage system.
Meteorologists are also warning anyone Columbus Day weekend plans in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama that a hurricane might make landfall in that region. They should keep a close eye on the weather.
Tropical Storm Nate’s intensity has been rapidly increasing. Right now, the storm is at 40 mph. It’s supposed to keep that speed as it moves over Nicaragua and Honduras.
“Life-threatening flash flooding and mudslides are possible in the Central American nations, with extreme rainfall totals of 15 to 20 inches possible in Nicaragua and up to 8 inches predicted for Honduras,” said CNN.
Nate might strengthen as it moves from Central America into the warmer waters of the western Caribbean.
“There, Nate could strengthen and experience an increase in forward speed, though the Yucatan Peninsula could inhibit its growth,” meteorologists told CNN.
There are some models that predict Nate could make landfall in Florida as a much stronger hurricane. However, those models have shifted to fall more in line with the predictions that place the storm in the central Gulf Coast.
“Still, many factors will play a role in Nate's development through the weekend,” said CNN meteorologist Brandon Miller.
"How much Nate is able to strengthen once it hits those warm waters depends a lot on how intact the center of the storm can maintain as it traverses land," Miller said. "If it gets ragged, it will take some time to reform over the ocean, and that will mean less time to gain in intensity.”
However, he added, “if it manages to stay together while over Central America, it will be able to take advantage of those warm waters and quickly strengthen, maybe even undergo 'rapid intensification,'" he said.
Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Jose, and Maria all underwent rapid intensification on their way to becoming major hurricanes last month. Rapid intensification is when the sustained speed of a hurricane increases by 35 mph in 24 hours or less.
What will happen to New Orleans?
If the storm hits New Orleans, there could be flooding. New Orleans has 120 drainage pumps in their unique system. Of those pumps, a dozen—including three major pumps—were out of service Wednesday morning.
One of those major pumps is the city’s largest-opacity pump. It’s located in a heavily populated swath of the city. The second pump that is out of service is located in a nearby area. The last major pump is located across the Mississippi River in a suburban section of the city.
New Orleans officials were due to meet Thursday morning to discuss preparations for the possibility of hurricane conditions, said CNN. However, even if all the pumps were working, they could only drain about 1 inch of water in the first hour of a storm and a half-inch in each subsequent hour.
“That means a deluge would predictably cause temporary localized flooding, an outcome most residents expect,” says CNN.
Pray for the Gulf Coast as the tropical storm bears down. We’ll keep you updated on the details. In other news, the Las Vegas shooter had another plan, and police just released the terrifying details.