Hurricane Nate heads towards the Central Gulf of Mexico

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Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards has declared a state of emergency ahead of the hurricane, which is due to make landfall on Saturday night local time.

The bridges in Orange Beach will be closing when we begin receiving 45 mph sustained winds. Hurricane and tropical storm watches, as well as a storm surge watch, are in effect for a portion of the northern Gulf Coast, from Morgan City Louisiana to the Alabama-Florida border.

At 5 p.m., Nate was about 80 miles east of the resort island of Cozumel. It will likely make landfall as a Category 1 Hurricane with winds over 75 MPH.

An 11 a.m. National Hurricane Center advisory said authorities issued a Hurricane Warning for a stretch of coast from Grand Isle, La., to the to the Alabama/Florida state line.

The potential for rainfall ranges as high as 8 inches along and west of I-65 through Sunday. A storm surge warning covers the same area and extends east to the Okaloosa/Walton County line.

Thousands have been forced to sleep in shelters and some 400,000 people in Costa Rica were reported to be without running water. A stronger and larger storm would bring more rain and a greater chance for a few tornadoes. The continental U.S. can expect heavy rainfall associated with this storm. Surge-related flooding will depend on whether the area is experiencing low or high tide at landfall. As of early Friday, the storm was located directly offshore from Belize, just south of the Yucatan Peninsula, with winds of 85 kilometers (50 miles) per hour that were expected to strengthen.

Tropical Storm Nate strengthened Friday evening as it neared the northeastern tip of the Yucatan Peninsula, the National Hurricane Center said.

He says with Nate moving so fast, any impacts will be over by midday on Sunday. It had sped up to 14 mph, from 9 mph on Thursday.

Residents in areas outside New Orleans' levee system have been evacuated as the category one hurricane churns northwards through the gulf.

"Nate is at our doorstep or will be soon", New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu said.

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