Rapid Intensification Likely: TD #16 to become a hurricane by the weekend

The National Hurricane Center designated the swirl in the Caribbean as ‘Tropical Depression #16″ Wednesday morning.  This storm becomes Tropical Storm – and most likely Hurricane Nate over the next few days.

If you have beach plans from Louisiana to the Florida Panhandle this weekend, consider how this storm may impact the coastline.  Whether we have a direct hit on Alabama or Northwest Florida, the weather will be rough Saturday and Sunday in Gulf Shores, Orange Beach, Pensacola, Destin and Panama City.  ‘Rough’ ranges from high waves, strong rip currents, and gusty winds to hurricane-force winds, heavy rain, and a significant storm surge.  Be prepared to evacuate or cancel plans if necessary; Nate has the potential to undergo rapid intensification over the warm central Gulf of Mexico.  NHC’s forecast is for a Category 1 storm arriving on shore Sunday; it could quickly ramp up to a Category two or even a three before landfall.

Track this tropical system and it’s impact with WHNT.com’s Interactive Radar or swipe over to the radar feature on Live Alert 19! If you are traveling, make sure Live Alert 19 is set to ‘current location’ so that you get information for wherever you are at the moment!

The impact here at home: Expect adjustments to the forecast for Sunday and Monday in particular around here. If we end up on the western side of Nate’s circulation, we expect some but not a lot of rain and some but not a lot of wind.

If Nate comes in farther west and put us near or east of the center, then we have a different ballgame all together. Most model guidance Wednesday puts the Tennessee Valley on the ‘dirty’ side of the system: stronger winds, torrential tropical rainfall, and a threat of severe storms. The threat would be similar to that of Hurricane Harvey’s remnant low passing nearby in early September: blustery, wet, and stormy.

The path will become more clear in the next 72 hours, so stay close and we’ll keep you posted!

The information in this post may become dated; you can always access the latest information online at WHNT.com/Weather and in the “Daily Forecast” section on Live Alert 19!

-Jason
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