At least 22 people are dead after Tropical Storm Nate moved over parts of Central America on Thursday.
Torrential rain and high winds, along with widespread flooding extending across Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and Honduras have also left hundreds of thousands displaced. So far, Costa Rica appears hardest hit by Nate, with reports of more than 400,000 residents without power or running water.
Nate is now moving back into the open ocean where it is expected to strengthen before continuing toward the US Gulf Coast. Hurricane and storm surge watches are now in effect for the Gulf Coast. The watches extend from the extreme northwestern tip of Florida and into southeast Louisiana, according to the National Weather Service.
The latest model predicts that Nate will make US landfall as a Category One hurricane by Sunday morning. Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards has declared a state of emergency and dispatched 1,300 National Guardsmen to handle the situation.
Tropical Storm Nate is shaping up to become hurricane number eight in a season that has already been unusually intense. So far, four of the seven previous storms has reached Category Three or above, with Hurricane Maria being the strongest.
Hurricane Maria reached Category Five before striking Puerto Rico as a very strong Category Four on September 20. Residents of Puerto Rico are currently in the process of recovering from the storm.
Although Nate is only expected to become a Category One hurricane, it is a massively large system and still has potential to cause significant damage. Louisiana is still recuperating in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. Harvey dumped enormous amounts of rain on Louisiana and caused flooding in several areas of the state.
Texas bore the brunt of Harvey, which made a direct hit on the town of Rockport. Unlike Nate, Harvey came in as a Category Four, swamping low-lying areas and doing extensive damage along the Texas coast.
The cities of Houston, Beaumont and Port Arthur experienced widespread power outages along with thousands of homes either severely damaged or destroyed. Meanwhile, the city of Nederland received an astonishing 64 inches of rainfall during the hurricane.
Storm surges of more than six feet, decreased drainage of the heavy rainfall, creating some of the most severe flooding in the region’s history.
[Featured Image NASA/NRL]