Hurricane Nate is growing stronger as it skirts the coast of Mexico and heads towards the northern Gulf coast. According to Reuters, Nate has left at least 25 people dead in Central America, as torrential rains caused landslides and extensive flooding. Lives were lost in Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Honduras as Tropical Storm Nate uprooted trees, flooded roads, and destroyed bridges. Since then Nate has gained strength and is now categorized as a hurricane.
Overnight Hurricane Nate, a Category 1 hurricane, gathered pace as it skirted the Yucatan peninsula and moved across the warm deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Hurricane Nate is now to the north of Cuba and moving towards the continental U.S. at 22 mph. As reported by the New York Times, forecasters have warned that Hurricane Nate may still increase in ferocity before making landfall to the west of New Orleans.
Whilst Hurricane Nate is currently the lowest category of hurricane, officials are warning that it should not be taken lightly. Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards warned the residents of the state that Hurricane Nate “has the potential to do a lot of damage.”
“No one should take this storm lightly. It has already claimed the lives of at least 20 people. We do want people to be very, very cautious and to not take this storm for granted.”
In its latest bulletin, the National Hurricane Center in Miami warned that conditions are ideal for Hurricane Nate to go through a period of “rapid intensification” before it makes landfall.
It is perhaps ironic that Hurricane Nate is heading for New Orleans. Just days ago, President Donald Trump was criticized for telling residents of Puerto Rico that they were “lucky” that Hurricane Maria wasn’t a real disaster when compared with Hurricane Katrina. That storm devastated New Orleans, causing the deaths of over 1,800 people.
Hurricane Nate may not have the power that Katrina did, but New Orleans residents are warned that the storm surge could be significant, with surges up to nine feet expected. New Orleans will, therefore, be at risk of severe flooding, and there are concerns about whether the cities 100-year-old pumping system will be able to deal with the influx of massive amounts of water.
Hurricane Nate is moving northwards very quickly and is expected to make landfall late this evening. Residents of Louisiana and the Florida panhandle are warned to ensure that they have their hurricane plans ready.
[Featured Image by Moises Castillo/AP Images]