Nate accelerating northward; rough Gulf this weekend for SWFL

Lee Herald Favicon 16Tropical Storm Nate continues to gather strength at it moves toward the Gulf of Mexico.

As of Friday evening, the National Hurricane Center reported 65 mph winds, with the center of circulation about 90 miles northeast of Cozumel, Mexico as of 8 p.m. Nate is moving quickly, toward the north-northwest at 21 mph.

Forecast estimates has Nate continuing to gain strength as it races north into the Gulf of Mexico, but forecast track continue to move it westward and away from Florida shores. Current tracks are putting Nate’s most likely landfall along the coasts of Louisiana or Mississippi, however portions of the Florida Panhandle are under Hurricane Watch conditions.

Nate isn’t a hurricane yet, but it is likely to reach hurricane strength before making landfall in the northern Gulf sometime overnight Saturday into Sunday. The coasts of Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana, including New Orleans, are under a Hurricane Warning.

While Nate won’t be directly impacting Southwest Florida, thankfully, as many who still have blue tarps from Irma on their rooftops may be thinking, Nate’s path could make for a rough weekend on the water. The National Weather Service has issued small craft advisories for the offshore Gulf of Mexico this weekend.

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