Storm Nate: Hurricane heads to New Orleans

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Including Nate, there have been 13 tropical storms, eight hurricanes and four major hurricanes so far this season. The storm was located about 180 miles south-southeast of the mouth of the Mississippi River and was moving north-northwest at 26 mph.

Hurricane Nate made landfall late Saturday afternoon in southeast Louisiana as a Category 1 storm system, lashing the state's southern coast with wind and rain whipped up from the Gulf of Mexico.

Hurricane Nate is expected to be a category 2 storm as it makes landfall around Gulfport, Miss., sometime early Sunday morning.

A storm surge warning has been issued from Morgan City, Louisiana, to the Alabama-Florida border. This includes New Orleans and Lake Pontchartrain.

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Nate killed at least 23 people as it passed through Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Honduras as a tropical storm.

Hurricane Hunters were very busy Friday evening seeing the somewhat rapid intensification of Nate as he passed between the Yucatan Peninsula and the Western tip of Cuba. A tropical storm watch is in effect from Morgan City westward to Intracoastal City and from the Mississippi/Alabama border east into the Florida panhandle.

The storm was forecast to grow into a category-two hurricane by around 7 p.m., as it reached the USA coast. Areas east of I-65 could see sustained winds up to 25-30 miles per hour.

A storm surge of up to five feet have been reported along the Louisiana and MS coast according to NOAA buoys.

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Thousands were forced to evacuate their homes and Costa Rica's government declared a state of emergency, closing schools and all other non-essential services.

A state of emergency was declared for 29 Florida counties, Mississippi's six southernmost counties, and New Orleans, where levees were breached during Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

Nate will race northward overnight into Saturday with landfall likely late Saturday or early Sunday morning. Landrieu enacted a 7 p.m. Saturday curfew for city residents.

US officials from Florida to Texas told residents on Thursday to prepare for the storm.

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The strongest tropical storm impact locally should come on Sunday, but rain chances will begin increasing Saturday with the possibility of precipitation reaching 80 percent Saturday night.

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