Ninety-five percent of Puerto Rico remains without power after Hurricane Maria tore through more than two weeks ago. The Florida Keys just reopened to tourists Sunday, after Hurricane Irma crashed into the islands September 10. Debris from Harvey could fill 278 Olympic-size swimming pools — and there are still piles waiting to be picked up.
But hurricane season is not yet over, and another tropical storm is brewing. What is now tropical depression 16 will likely strengthen into Tropical Storm Nate, the 14th named system of the season. It is expected to intensify still, becoming a hurricane that could threaten the northern Gulf Coast this weekend from Louisiana to western Florida, according to the Capital Weather Gang.
The eastern coasts of Honduras and Nicaragua are under tropical-storm warnings right now, and parts of Nicaragua could see up to 30 inches of rain in isolated areas.
The National Hurricane Center predicts the storm to move into the northwestern Caribbean by Friday. The storm’s potential track remains uncertain, but the National Hurricane Center is warning coastal residents from Louisiana to Florida to pay attention to (future) Nate’s path over the next few days.
The system will feed off the warm waters of the region, though it is unlikely to gain the strength and intensity of, say, a Maria. The National Hurricane Center is forecasting a Category 1 storm. While that’s no joke — sustained winds higher than 74 miles per hour, accompanied by heavy surf and rain — its intensity is unlikely to match those of Harvey, Irma, and Maria, all Category 4 hurricanes upon landfall.