Tropical Storm Nate roared toward Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula Friday after drenching Central America in rain that was blamed for at least 22 deaths, and forecasters said it could reach the U.S. Gulf Coast as a hurricane over the weekend.
Louisiana officials declared a state of emergency and ordered some people to evacuate coastal areas and barrier islands ahead of its expected landfall early Sunday, and evacuations began at some offshore oil platforms in the Gulf.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center said Nate could cause dangerous flooding by dumping as much as 6 to 10 inches (18 to 25 centimeters) of rain as it moved over Honduras, with higher accumulations in a few places.
It had maximum sustained winds of 45 mph (75 kph) by Friday morning and was likely to strengthen over the northwestern Caribbean Sea on Friday before a possible strike on the Cancun region at the tip of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula at near-hurricane strength. It could hit the U.S. Gulf coast near New Orleans.
In Nicaragua, Nate’s arrival followed two weeks of near-constant rain that had left the ground saturated and rivers swollen. Authorities placed the whole country on alert and warned of flooding and landslides. (AP)