Hurricane heads to New Orleans — Storm Nate

Hurricane heads to New Orleans — Storm Nate”

That was nearly 9% of the 737 manned platforms in the Gulf. Forecasters say the hurricane-force winds extend out up to 35 miles, mainly to the east of the eye.

Reports from NOAA and Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter aircraft indicate that maximum sustained winds have increased to near 90 mph (150 km/h) with higher gusts. It has strengthened with 85 mph winds, and is expected to strengthen a bit more before making landfall Saturday night near the Mississippi coast. The coasts of Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana, including New Orleans, are under a Hurricane Warning.

Cloud cover from the storm had already started to stream over into Florida, providing a forecast of a mostly overcast day on Friday. A hurricane watch is in effect east of the Alabama/Florida border to the Okaloosa/Walton County Line (Florida).

The potential for rainfall ranges as high as 8 inches along and west of I-65 through Sunday. There is a marginal tornado threat primarily for areas to the south and east Sunday afternoon. On Thursday, Gov. Rick Scott declared a state of emergency for 29 counties, covering from Pensacola to Gainesville.

Even if that holds, Louisiana can still expect dangerous storm surge.

A tropical storm warning is in effect for. The storm is forecast to move into the Gulf of Mexico and become a hurricane before striking Gulf states.

Sunday Night: A chance of showers and thunderstorms, then showers likely and possibly a thunderstorm after 2 a.m. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 66.

New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu on Friday ordered the mandatory evacuation of residents living outside the city's levee system. By midafternoon yesterday, Nate was moving at 21 mph.

Hurricane Nate is booking toward the central Gulf of Mexico as a Category 1 storm early Saturday morning. It is expected to approach the northern Gulf Coast Saturday evening. Precautions to protect life and property are being rushed to completion Saturday morning.

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