After moving across the far eastern sections of Nicaragua and Honduras, Tropical Storm Nate moved back over the open waters of the western Caribbean this morning. Nate remained a weak tropical storm as it interacted with land during the past 24 hours. During the past few hours, the system has started to show some slight signs of intensification/better organization over the open waters of the western Caribbean.
As of 7 am ET this morning, Nate has max winds of 45 mph, a central pressure of 999 mb, and is moving toward the north-northwest at 14 mph. Nate will be moving over open water for the next 12-15 hours and because of this and more favorable atmospheric conditions, strengthening is likely today before Nate interacts with the Cancun/Cozumel area tonight. Nate will skirt across or just offshore of the Yucatan Peninsula near the Cancun/Cozumel area tonight. Land interaction, if any, will be minor so no change in intensification is expected. On Saturday, Nate will increase forward speed and begin to trek across the Gulf of Mexico with landfall likely on Sunday morning.
The latest track is similar to the output from yesterday with landfall expected in eastern Louisiana Sunday morning. While there is very good consensus/agreement on the track, there remains some debate on the intensity. The intensity of Nate runs the gamut from a tropical wave to a Cat 3. Based on the combination of atmospheric conditions, ocean temperatures/heat content, and most important time, we feel that the most likely intensity is for either a Tropical Storm or a Cat 1 storm in the northern portion of the Gulf of Mexico.
Once inland, Nate will rapidly curve across the Southeast quadrant of the nation. Because of the rapid forward speed, no severe flooding is expected. Here are the percentages/risks this morning with the tropical wave.