Nate now a category one hurricane as it heads for Gulf Coast

ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB) - What has been Tropical Storm Nate was upgraded to a category one hurricane just before midnight Friday into Saturday, and is moving quickly to the north-northwest over the southern Gulf of Mexico.

Maximum sustained winds have increased to 90 mph with higher gusts. Nate continues to show signs of intensification on satellite with deep convection wrapping around the circulation center. It's impact on Central Louisiana is predicted to be limited to some rain and wind.

Heavy rain is falling over extreme eastern parts of the Yucatan peninsula and western Cuba. Flash flooding and mudslides are expected into Saturday morning as Nate moves through, bringing a risk
to life and property damage. Additionally, sustained winds of tropical storm strength are likely over the eastern parts of the Yucatan and western Cuba, leading to some downed trees, power lines and isolated damage to structures.

Nate will continue to push off to the north over the Gulf of Mexico with an upper-level low over Mexico helping to steer this system. Nate is expected to make landfall near the mouth of the Mississippi River late Saturday night as a category one hurricane. A significant storm surge of 5 to 8 feet is expected from southeastern Louisiana to Mississippi and Alabama. Winds can also gust to over 100 mph near the center of the storm.

Damage to structures and widespread power outages are expected along Nate's path through the central Gulf Coast region. Electric customers will be without power for several days. Flooding rain will affect much of the central Gulf Coast and areas well inland towards the Tennessee Valley. Nate will bring heavy rain and the risk for flooding into parts of the Ohio Valley and central Appalachian states Sunday night into Monday.