Good Saturday morning…
We are monitoring the latest on Hurricane Nate as it moves quickly northward toward the Gulf Coast. Last night the storm as it crossed the Yucatan quickly developed into the ninth hurricane of the 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season.
Nate as of this morning has winds of 85 mph. It is located about 240 miles south of the Mouth of the Mississippi River and it quickly moving NNW at 22 mph.
Nate is a lopsided storm in that most of the strongest winds are east of the center, that partly a result of the forward motion.
Nate will make landfall somewhere between New Orleans and Mobile this evening and will quickly move north and northeast through the Southeast US.
The forecast track for Nate takes it through Alabama on the day Sunday and into Southeast Tennessee by Sunday night. This track puts our region on the storm’s eastern half, which means that the potential for locally heavy rainfall and gusty winds are there.
Fortunately, the track looks to be just far enough west to prevent the core of it from impacting the entire forecast area. At this time the heaviest rain and wind potential looks to be in our western counties of Burke, McDowell and Rutherford and then a fairly sharp gradient in the impacts as you go east.
At this time rainfall totals could be in the 2-4 inch range east of the mountains with 4-6 right along the Blue Ridge. The latest WPC forecast precipitation seems to line up pretty well with our current thinking. The fast movement of Nate will limit rainfall amounts. Showers could actually begin as soon as late today due to the developing southeast flow banking up against the escarpment. The heaviest of the rain should peak late Sunday.
Also, gusty winds are expected with Nate as it passes by on Sunday. In our eastern tier counties, winds could gust from the south and southeast in the 20-30 mph range with increasing wind speeds as you get closer to the Blue Ridge. Some wind gusts along the higher terrain of Burke, McDowell and Rutherford Counties may exceed 40 mph. That kind of wind energy could down some trees and power lines…scattered outages may occur.
We will have further updates on Nate through the next 24-36 hours as he makes landfall along the Gulf Coast and then quickly moves inland through the Southeast.