It certainly looks like Nate will bring us some wind and rain, but we don’t have to worry about that for now. Today, tomorrow, and Saturday look nice, with highs in the 70s and lows in the 50s. By Saturday afternoon we should start to see some clouds increase and showers may move in as early as Saturday night. Those showers will continue Sunday and Monday, with some rain being heavy at times. The best chance of heavy downpours looks to be Sunday night. Another cold front sweeps through Tuesday, bringing more beautiful weather for the mid to late portions of next week.
After getting more data from the storm from the Hurricane Hunters, we know a lot more today about what Nate should do. For today, he’ll struggle with land interactions across Nicaragua and Honduras. By late tonight he’ll be back over water and should strengthen into a very strong tropical storm. Then, interaction with the Yucatan peninsula will once again kick him back down to a much weaker storm. Nate will then re-emerge back over the southern Gulf very early Saturday morning and start to re-strengthen as it moves northward. The waters of the Gulf are still very warm, but the winds in the atmosphere will be unfavorable for anything more than a strong tropical storm/weak hurricane. That is good news! Models are trending westward with landfall and it now looks like areas around the coasts of Mississippi or Alabama are at most risk for a direct impact. The effects, however, will be felt all along the Gulf Coast of AL and FL, with heavy rain and gusty winds all day Sunday. By Monday, the storm moves out and beach conditions will improve.
For those of you heading to the Florida Panhandle for fall breaks, I wouldn’t necessarily cancel my plans. Right now, it looks like those areas would see wind gusts to 50 mph and some heavy rainfall on Sunday. The storm is a fast mover, so no major flooding is expected. Just make sure you’re there by Saturday afternoon. You don’t want to have to drive into that mess on Sunday.
Thankfully, this storm will be nothing like Hurricane Opal that hit the Gulf Coast in 1995. Today is the anniversary of her remnants making it to Crossville. We had downed trees and flooded roads, with some parts of the county picking up half a foot of rain. Opal was a major hurricane at landfall near Destin and destroyed nearly every beach house from Navarre to Destin. US Highway 98 from Fort Walton to Destin was completely destroyed. Storm surge was up to 15 feet! Opal could have been much worse, though. Residents of the Gulf Coast went to sleep knowing a cat 2 hurricane was in the Gulf but awoke to a storm that had picked up forward speed and had rapidly intensified into a cat 4 (nearly cat 5). Residents raced to escape and ended up grid locked on roadways as the storm made landfall. Fortunately, the storm weakened to a weak cat 3 at landfall.
Thankfully, we so no indication that Nate will do the same thing Opal did. At best, the storm will be a cat 1 at landfall, somewhere near Biloxi, Mississippi. That’s how things look right now.
I’ll be watching it and if you have any questions at all, just let me know!
Check out this live view of the beach at Destin right now (8:50 am). You can watch the live feed at https://www.hendersonparkinn.com/destin-florida-beach-webcam/.
Forecast track of Nate: