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Tropical Storm Nate Hits Central America, Heads for Mexico

Mexico City (TeleSUR– With current sustained winds of almost 70 kph, Tropical Storm Nate is traveling northwest at 12 kph, and experts say it’s picking up speed.

Weather reports warn that the tropical depression spiraling through the northwestern Caribbean sea has upgraded to Tropical Storm Nate, with a hurricane watch in Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula from Punta Herrero to Rio Lagartos that could hit the Gulf of Mexico Gulf by early Sunday morning.

Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Honduras are currently weathering through some heavy rainfall that triggered flood warnings as the tropical storm hit Central America.

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Image: Max Pixel

With current sustained winds of almost 70 kph, Nate is traveling northwest at 12 kph, although weather experts at the National Hurricane Center warned it will pick up speed as it takes a more north-northwestward direction.

Forecasters say the storm is expected to strengthen as it enters into warmer waters, although exact details on location, time, and magnitude of when Nate will reach the U.S. is still unknown. However, current calculations show the storm will hit Mexico’s coast and the U.S. southern states of Louisiana and Mississippi.

“Since the system will be moving over very warm waters, we could quickly have a powerful hurricane on our hands,” according to AccuWeather.

Related: Hurricane Max Arrives Off Mexico’s Southwestern Coast

“In all likelihood, this storm will impact areas not severely impacted by Harvey or Irma. The extent of the damage will depend, of course, on the precise path and whether the storm intensifies beyond a Category 1 storm,” it said.

“Residents along the Gulf Coast from Louisiana through the Florida Panhandle should monitor the progress of this system and heed any advice given by local officials,” the National Hurricane Center said.

By Sunday, the storm is expected to reach as high as 120 kph and although its velocity is far from its sister hurricanes Irma and Maria, forecasters warn residents to be careful of flash floods, mudslides, and heavy rains.

The Hurricane Center is predicting around 40 to 50 centimeters of rain in the Pacific coast of Central America, particularly Nicaragua.

Nate is the 14th storm to be named this year, following just a month after the powerful and destructive hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria which tore the Caribbean apart in early September.

True to meteorologists’ predictions in August, the hurricane season has been “above-normal” with forecasts warning of 14 to 19 tropical storms occurring in the peak season.

AccuWeather reported around four more tropical storms, three of which could develop into hurricanes with at least one ranging as a Category 3 or higher before the 2017 season comes to a close.

Meteorologists caution those in Central America, Cuba, the Bahamas, Mexico and the southeastern United States to prepare for further extremes of weather and expect variances until around December.

This post was originally written for and published by TeleSUR English.