Nate, the 14th named tropical system of the year, is preparing to leave Eastern Honduras in route to the Yucatan Peninsula in the coming days.
Nate formed in a region of the Caribbean that is notorious for development at this point in the hurricane season: the Western Caribbean. While typically not as intense as the long-lived hurricanes that originate over the Cabo Verde Islands near Africa, hurricanes forming in any part of the Caribbean are a threat, since the basin is surrounded by islands and landmasses.
The same goes for the Gulf of Mexico, which is exactly where Nate is heading this weekend. The forecast calls for Nate to make another landfall over the Eastern Yucatan Peninsula Friday night before setting its sights on Louisiana, Mississippi or Alabama by early Sunday.
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The big issue – like so many storms before – is intensity. Will Nate intensify in the Gulf of Mexico as it heads toward the Gulf Coast? Waters are certainly warm enough, but the inhibiting factor may be the upper level wind shear that will be over the storm. As you may recall, this can hobble a tropical system and even shred it apart. We’ll be watching to see how much this will affect Nate this weekend.
In any event, Nate’s remnants will make the trip up to New England by Columbus Day. Although we have a chance for beneficial rain, it’s premature to speculate on how much. Sometimes the heaviest rain will cluster over the mountains of Western New England with the storm approaching from the southwest.
I am confident, however, that some part of New England will get downpours. Wind, on the other hand, won't be an issue, as Nate’s circulation center will be all but gone.