Nation

Tropical Storm Nate could threaten Gulf Coast as potential hurricane

A potential track for Tropical Storm Nate.
National Weather Service
A potential track for Tropical Storm Nate.

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Tropical Storm Nate formed off the coast of Nicaragua on Thursday and it was expected to drench parts of Central America and Mexico before potentially hitting the U.S. Gulf Coast as a hurricane over the weekend.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center said the storm could cause dangerous flooding by dumping as much as 15 to 20 inches (38 to 50 centimeters) of rain on Nicaragua, with higher accumulations in a few places.

It had maximum sustained winds of 40 mph (65 kph) Thursday morning and was likely to strengthen over the northwestern Caribbean Sea Thursday night and Friday.

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The storm was centered about 10 miles (15 kilometers) south Puerto Cabezas, Nicaragua, and was moving northwest near 8 mph (13 kph).

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The forecast track showed it could brush across the tip of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula late Friday night and then hit the U.S. Gulf Coast as a hurricane by Sunday morning.

In the Pacific, former Tropical Storm Ramon dissipated off the southwestern coast of Mexico.