(TNS) - Tropical Storm Nate has strengthened as the storm continues moving toward the northeastern tip of the Yucatan Peninsula and the Yucatan Channel according to the National Hurricane Center's 5 p.m. advisory. The storm is forecast to move into the Gulf of Mexico and become a hurricane before striking Gulf states.
Nate currently has maximum sustained winds of 60 mph and is moving north-northwest at 21 mph. It is expected to become a hurricane by the time it reaches the Gulf.
On the forecast track, the center of Nate will move near or over the northeastern coast of the Yucatan peninsula this evening.
The storm will then move into the southern Gulf of Mexico tonight, approach the northern Gulf coast Saturday, and then make landfall over the northern Gulf coast Saturday night or Sunday.
A hurricane warning is in effect for Grand Isle, Louisiana to the Alabama-Florida border and for Metropolitan New Orleans.
Hurricane watches are in effect east of the Alabama-Florida border to the Okaloosa-Walton county line in the Florida Panhandle and west of Grand Isle, Louisiana.
Between 3 and 6 inches of rain are expected for the central Gulf Coast states, east of the Mississippi River, eastern Tennessee and the southern Appalachians, with a maximum of 10 inches possible, NHC reports state.
At least 22 deaths have been attributed to heavy rains from Nate in Nicaragua and Costa Rica.
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