Tropical Depression 16 is expected to intensify into a tropical storm within 24 hours while traveling north into the Gulf of Mexico. A forecast cone from the National Hurricane Center projected the storm will make landfall as a hurricane this weekend somewhere between New Orleans and Tampa Bay, with the Florida Panhandle as the center point.
National Weather Service meteorologist Kelly Godsey said atmospheric conditions are favorable for a quick intensification of the storm, and residents need to prepare.
“It’s not terribly unusual to see storms this time of year develop,” Godsey said. “What is particularly concerning however is that the water is very warm in the northwestern Caribbean. The fuel is really there to get this storm to intensify quickly.”
If Tropical Depression 16 gains strength, it will be known as Tropical Storm Nate.
One logistical issue facing the state is that Florida State University is scheduled to host the University of Miami in a football game Saturday afternoon in Tallahassee. The game was already postponed once because of Hurricane Irma last month. As of early Wednesday afternoon, FSU said it was monitoring the storm, but no change in the schedule had been announced.
Republished with permission of the News Service of Florida.