Tropical Storm Nate formed early Thursday morning in the Caribbean, the National Hurricane Center said in its 7 a.m advisory.
The tropical storm currently has sustained winds of 40 mph and continues to move ever-slowly to the northwest as its expected to head into the Gulf of Mexico later this week, with an eventual landfall along the central Gulf Coast expected sometime Sunday. Since Wednesday afternoon, the storm’s projected track has shifted considerably west and is now expected to approach the Louisiana coast as a hurricane this weekend, according to the NHC.
NHC officials said the storm has slowed down and its projected path has shifted farther west than previously forecast due to a large mid-to upper-level ridge building off the coast of the southeastern United States.
“The system is forecast to continue strengthening over the Gulf of Mexico and could affect portions of the northern Gulf Coast as a hurricane this weekend,” the official NHC forecast states. “However, it is too early to specify the timing, location, or magnitude of these impacts. Residents along the Gulf Coast from Louisiana to Florida should monitor the progress of this system for the next several days and heed any advice given by local officials.”
Florida Gov. Rick Scott is scheduled to arrive in Pensacola this morning to visit the Escambia Emergency Operations Center to attend a weather briefing followed by a press conference.