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Hurricane Nate will hit the Gulf Coast this weekend

Mayor of New Orleans has declared a state of emergency

Tropical Storm Nate seen over Central America
Image: NOAA

Tropical Storm Nate is expected to grow and hit the Gulf Coast states as a Category 1 hurricane this weekend. Parts of Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana along the coast are under hurricane watch.

The storm made landfall on Thursday in Central America, killing at least 22 people. It will become stronger as it moves up Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula later today, and will be a hurricane by the time it makes landfall on Sunday, according to the National Hurricane Center. It is expected to have winds of 80 miles per hour and drop up to a foot of rain in some places. New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu has declared a state of emergency, while other areas of the state have ordered evacuations.

Though the 80 mph wind speed is expected to be much lower than other hurricanes this season — Hurricane Irma’s 185 mile per hour winds broke records — Nate is likely to still be dangerous because of the potential for flooding. Flooding was already the cause of most of the 22 deaths in Nicaragua and Honduras.

Meanwhile, Puerto Rico is still struggling after Hurricane Maria — 3.4 million people remain without power — while Hurricane Harvey’s floods have caused toxic waste to seep from a Houston SuperFund site.