COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - The Gulf Coast is making preparations for Tropical Storm Nate, expected to make landfall as a Category 1 hurricane. It may bring rain to South Carolina, but the storm's current track has the Midlands outside the "cone of uncertainty."
Tropical Depression 16 gained enough strength Thursday morning to become Tropical Storm Nate.
As of the 11 a.m. Friday update, the National Hurricane Center says the storm has sustained winds of 50 MPH and is moving northwest at 21 MPH. The NHC says Nate is "heading for the northwestern Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico in a hurry."
Nate is expected to become a hurricane by the time it reaches the northern Gulf of Mexico.
Hurricane Watches are issued for New Orleans, Lake Pontchartrain, and from Morgan City, LA to the Mississippi-Alabama Border.
"This general track with a marked increase in forward speed is expected during the next day or two," said the NHC update. "On the forecast track, the center of Nate will move across the northwestern Caribbean Sea today, and reach the eastern coast of the Yucatan peninsula early this evening. Nate will then move into the southern Gulf of Mexico tonight and approach the northern Gulf coast Saturday evening."
"The effects for us will be minimal," said WIS First Alert Meteorologist Tim Miller, who said the storm may bring rain to South Carolina Monday. "The main threat from Nate will remain to our west -- for now. However, our chance for scattered showers and breezy conditions will increase late Saturday through Tuesday of next week.
To monitor the storm's conditions, download the WIS First Alert Weather App.