Hurricane Nate forms, heads to central Gulf of Mexico

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Hurricane Nate gained force as it continued rapidly moving over the central Gulf of Mexico early Saturday after drenching Central America in rain that was blamed for at least 21 deaths. Forecasters said it was likely to reach the U.S. Gulf Coast over the weekend.

Louisiana and Mississippi officials declared states of emergency and Louisiana ordered some people to evacuate coastal areas and barrier islands ahead of its expected landfall Saturday night or early Sunday. Evacuations began at some offshore oil platforms in the Gulf.

Mississippi’s government said it would open 11 evacuation shelters in areas away from the immediate coast, with buses available for people who can’t drive.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center warned that Nate could raise sea levels by 4 to 7 feet (1.2 to 2.1 meters) from Morgan City, Louisiana, to the Alabama-Florida border. It had already had caused deadly flooding in much of Central America.

The center added metropolitan New Orleans and Lake Pontchartrain to its latest hurricane warning.

The storm had maximum sustained winds of 80 mph (128.74 kph) and was likely to strengthen over the Gulf of Mexico, reaching the U.S. Gulf coast near New Orleans late Saturday, according to the hurricane center’s 4 a.m. CDT update.

The storm was located about 345 miles (555.2 kilometers) south-southeast of the mouth of the Mississippi River and

Article source: http://www.pantagraph.com/hurricane-nate-forms-heads-to-central-gulf-of-mexico/article_e36c452c-87f7-542e-ba6f-c6d6bdcdd093.html

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