Six Things To Know About Hurricane Nate

Linda Lam
Published: October 7, 2017

The busy 2017 Atlantic hurricane season continues as Hurricane Nate closes in on the U.S. Gulf Coast.

(MORE: 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season Among Top 10 Most Active in History)

Here are six things to know about Nate.

1. Hurricane Nate a Weekend Landfall

Hurricane Nate will arrive on the northern U.S. Gulf Coast no later than early Sunday morning.

(LATEST ON NATE: Hurricane Central)

Nate is moving quickly with a forward speed greater than 20 mph. The National Weather Service in New Orleans remarked that Nate was moving at cruise ship speed Saturday morning.

Projected Path

2. U.S. Impacts 

Hurricane conditions are likely into early Sunday from coastal southeastern Louisiana eastward to southern Alabama and a few miles inland, with winds greater than 40 mph occurring well into southern Mississippi, Alabama and western Florida. 

Tropical storm and hurricane warnings have been issued for parts of the Gulf Coast and residents along the Gulf Coast from Louisiana through the Florida Panhandle should be finishing preparations.

Storm surge flooding is a major threat from southeastern Louisiana eastward to Mobile Bay where winds are expected to be onshore as Nate makes landfall.

If you live in a storm surge prone location and have been told to evacuate, please follow instructions from local officials.

Storm Surge Inundation

Heavy rainfall will spread across portions of the South. A widespread area of at least 3 inches of rain is expected with the heaviest rain forecast from southeast Louisiana to southern Alabama and inland as far as the central Appalachians, Tennessee Valley and Ohio Valley, which could lead to flash flooding even well inland.

Rainfall Forecast

A few tornadoes could also occur near and inland from the Gulf Coast.

3. Power Outages Are Expected Across the South

In addition to water impacts, wind will likely bring down power lines and trees along its path, especially close to the Gulf of Mexico. 

Winds greater than 40 mph are possible from the point of landfall northward into Mississippi, Alabama and north Georgia, with wind gusts to 60 mph. This is strong enough to do damage to trees and homes. 

Power Outage Potential

Power outages are possible as far north and east as the southern Appalachians.

4. It Has Been Nine Years Since Three Hurricanes Made Landfall in the Contiguous U.S. in One Year

Nate will join Harvey and Irma, which also made landfall as hurricanes this year in the contiguous U.S. Fortunately, Nate is not expected to be a major hurricane, Category 3 or higher, like Harvey and Irma were at the time of landfall.

(MORE: How a Borderline La Niña Could Impact the Rest of the 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season)

The last time three hurricanes made landfall in the Lower 48 in one year was 2008.

Tracks of the three hurricanes that made landfall in the U.S. in 2008. The color of the track denotes the strength of the system at that time.

In 2008, Hurricane Dolly made landfall in far southern Texas on South Padre Island on July 23 as a Category 1 hurricane, causing significant wind and flood damage.

Then on Sept. 1, Hurricane Gustav made landfall near Cocodrie, Louisiana as a Category 2 hurricane. More than $4 billion in damages occurred in the U.S. along with more than 10 deaths.

Hurricane Ike was a long-lived Cabo Verde hurricane that made landfall along the upper Texas coast as a strong Category 2 hurricane on Sept. 13. Extensive damage occurred, including significant storm surge and wave damage in upper Texas and southwestern Louisiana. As a direct result of Ike, 21 people died in Texas, Louisiana and Arkansas.

5. An October Hurricane Landfall Along the Northern Gulf Coast Is Rare

Hurricane season officially lasts through Nov. 30, but tropical activity decreases moving through October and November. 

Where tropical cyclones form also changes in October, compared to the peak of the season. Instead of looking toward the central and eastern Atlantic Ocean, tropical storms and hurricanes more commonly develop in the western Caribbean Sea, eastern Gulf of Mexico and far western Atlantic Ocean in October.

Typical formation zones and tracks for tropical storms and hurricanes in October.

Given the change in where tropical systems form, where landfall typically happen also shifts. One of the reasons for this is cold fronts begin to push farther south as fall progresses, providing some protection if timed correctly, to areas along the western and northern Gulf Coast.

Since 1950, only four tropical systems have made landfall along the Texas or Louisiana coast in October.

(MORE: A Northern Gulf Coast Hurricane Landfall in October or November is Quite Rare)

Meanwhile, Florida is a more common location for October landfalls.

6. Nate's Landfall Will Coincide With the One-Year Anniversary of Hurricane Matthew's Landfall

The current forecast calls for Nate to make landfall along the Gulf Coast either late on Saturday, Oct. 7 or early on Sunday, Oct. 8. 

If this takes place on Oct. 8, this would be on the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Matthew's landfall in South Carolina.

Satellite, radar, and storm information on Hurricane Matthew's landfall in South Carolina on October 8, 2016

Matthew was a destructive storm as it tracked through the Caribbean as a major hurricane. The path of Matthew took its center just off the coasts of Florida and Georgia.

(MORE: Hurricane Matthew Recap)

Impacts from Matthew were felt in the U.S. from Florida to North Carolina, including storm surge damage, strong winds and heavy rain. The heavy rain brought widespread flash flooding and record river flooding to eastern North Carolina.

Nate will not affect the same areas as Matthew and is not expected to be as powerful, but is a good reminder that hurricane season is not over yet.

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