Nate to become category 1 hurricane by tonight

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Hurricane warnings stretched along the coast from Alabama to Louisiana, and tropical storm warnings extended far inland into central Alabama. The National Weather Service has issued a tornado watch for the area until 10 a.m. Sunday.

The Storm Surge Warning for New Orleans and Lake Ponchartrain has been discontinued.

"Now that the system is over land, it will be on a weakening trend", NWS meteorologist David Stark said of the Category 1 storm that slammed the MS coast on Sunday with destructive winds and torrential rains.

WHAT TO EXPECT NEXT WEEK: Nate will race off to the northeast Sunday night however the axis of tropical moisture will linger. The strongest winds are expected to occur primarily to the east of the track of the center. In Mississippi, the storm surge could reach up to 11 feet, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Authorities have issued a mandatory curfew for a few counties along the MS coast.

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Nate may set a speed record for traveling from south to north across the Gulf of Mexico, doing so in under 24 hours. Nate's center will make a second landfall along the coast of MS later Saturday.

But as a Category 1, the weakest in the five-category ranking used by meteorologists, Nate appeared to lack the devastating punch of its predecessors. A state of emergency was declared for Mississippi's six southernmost counties. However, the region is still expected to have 1 to 2 inches of rain from Saturday night through Monday morning, she said. A 7 PM curfew remains in effect for the metropolitan area of New Orleans.

"New Orleans could see winds between 50 and 80 miles per hour starting Saturday, and a strong wind event can cause significant power outages". John Bel Edwards is urging residents to find a safe place behind the flood wall as soon as possible and stay put until Sunday morning.

The Storm Surge Warning has been discontinued west of Grand Isle.

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