HURRICANE NATE CONTINUES MOVING RAPIDLY OVER THE CENTRAL GULF OF MEXICO

Hurricane Nate is centered as of 4 a.m. about 345 miles (550 km) south-southeast of the mouth of the Mississippi River, moving toward the north-northwest near 22 mph (35 km/h), and this general fast motion is expected to continue through tonight. A turn toward the north is forecast on Sunday morning, followed by a turn toward the north-northeast thereafter. On the forecast track, the center of Nate will move across the Gulf of Mexico today and will make landfall along the central U.S. Gulf coast tonight.

Hurricane Warning is in effect for Grand Isle Louisiana to the Alabama/Florida border, including metropolitan New Orleans and Lake Pontchartrain. A Storm Surge Warning is in effect for Morgan City, Louisiana, to the Okaloosa / Walton County Line , Florida, including the northern and western shores of Lake Pontchartrain A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for Lake Maurepas, west of Grand Isle to Morgan City, Louisiana and east of the Alabama / Florida border to the Okaloosa/Walton County Line. Along the northern Gulf Coast, hurricane conditions are expected in the hurricane warning area tonight, with tropical storm conditions expected to begin earlier. Tropical storm conditions are expected in the tropical storm warning area tonight. Hurricane conditions are possible in the hurricane watch area tonight and tropical storm conditions are possible in the tropical storm watch area tonight and Sunday.

The water is expected to reach the following heights above ground if the peak surge occurs at the time of high tide: Morgan City, Louisiana to the mouth of the Mississippi River…4 to 6 ft; Mouth of the Mississippi River to the Alabama/Florida border…5 to 9 ft. Alabama / Florida border to the Okaloosa/Walton County Line…4 to 6 ft; Okaloosa/Walton County Line to Indian Pass, Florida…2 to 4 ft; Indian Pass to Crystal River, Florida…1 to 3 ft

Maximum sustained winds are near 80 mph (130 km/h) with higher gusts. Some strengthening is possible before Nate makes landfall along the northern Gulf coast. Another reconnaissance plane will investigate Nate soon. Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 35 miles (55 km) from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 125 miles (205 km). Cabo San Antonio in the western tip of Cuba reported gusts to 53 mph (85 km/h) a few hours ago.