Hurricane conditions could start Saturday in Louisiana, Gulf Coast — Tropical Storm Nate

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The Gulf Coast is bracing for the expected arrival of Tropical Storm Nate, which will likely be a category 1 storm by landfall.

Where exactly remains difficult for meteorologists to predict, with some forecast models suggesting anywhere from east Texas to the Florida panhandle.

The city has already moved lifeguard stands, chairs and trash cans from the beaches. A hurricane watch is in effect for Punta Herrero to Rio Lagartos.

The Fairhope Police Department is increasing it's weekend staff and the city's emergency management team will be activated.

Lee is no threat to land.

Assistant General Manager Tobi Rogers says they are anticipating flooding and urge everyone to stay off the Causeway this weekend.

The public works department is securing any loose items around the city and encourages residents at home to do the same. Earlier in the day, a voluntary evacuation was called in the barrier island town of Grand Isle south of New Orleans. We think back here locally to June. Also, Nate's impacts may go well beyond the cone, especially if the system expands or gets 'sheared'.

"A Tropical Storm Watch has been issued from the Mississippi/Alabama border eastward to the Okaloosa/Walton County Line in Florida".

But in that region, winds are not the main concern.

MEMA says the potential for high winds and widespread power outages in areas outside of the Mississippi Coast are possible. Another positive aspect to this system is that there are no current signs of slowing down, or 'getting stuck' somewhere along the Gulf coast.

Southern University officials announced changes to Saturday's homecoming football start time due to weather forecasts involving Tropical Storm Nate. One option is reducing its autonomy - making it a department directly under the mayor with scrutiny from the council.

Edwards warned, however, against underestimating the storm.

How will shear impact Nate?

As of Thursday afternoon it had a 50 percent chance of becoming a tropical depression by next week. Rivers' levels have been moderate to high since Hurricane Irma.

The storm passed through Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Honduras late Thursday and early Friday, with heavy rain and winds. Winds will diminish slowly overnight.

We will closely monitor the evolution of this system and bring you prompt updates on Channel 9, all of our digital and social platforms and on our free WFTV weather app.

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