The Latest on Tropical Storm Nate (all times local):
Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant is declaring a state of emergency in Mississippi's six southernmost counties in advance of the arrival of what's expected to be Hurricane Nate late Saturday. State officials said at a briefing Friday in Gulfport that Nate's main dangers will be a potential for 10 feet (3 meters) of storm-surge in low-lying areas and high winds that could damage mobile homes. Officials say they will open 11 evacuation shelters in areas away from the immediate coast, and that buses can transport people who can't drive. The state's 12 coastal casinos say they are monitoring the situation, but don't plan complete shutdowns. A car show that attracted thousands of visitors is being curtailed. The storm battered Central America with rain this week, killing at least 21 people.
A hurricane warning has been issued for a stretch of the U.S. Gulf Coast from Grand Isle, Louisiana, to the Alabama-Florida border. The National Hurricane Center in Miami says residents in those areas should brace for possible storm surges amid the expected strengthening of Tropical Storm Nate. The storm battered Central America with rain this week, killing at least 21 people. The center says the storm is likely to strengthen Friday over the northwestern Caribbean Sea before a possible near-hurricane-strength hit on the Cancun region at the tip of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula. Forecasters warn that the storm, after crossing open water, could then smash into the northern rim of the U.S. Gulf Coast as a hurricane.
Damage caused by Tropical Storm Nate has prompted Costa Rican officials to postpone a World Cup qualifying soccer match between that country and Honduras, which had been scheduled for Friday night. The president of the Costa Rican Football Federation says the game will now be played Saturday afternoon in San Jose, the Costa Rican capital. The storm killed at least seven people across Costa Rica.
Tropical Storm Nate roared toward Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula Friday after drenching Central America in rain that was blamed for at least 22 deaths, and forecasters said it could reach the U.S. Gulf Coast as a hurricane over the weekend.
Louisiana officials declared a state of emergency and ordered some people to evacuate coastal areas and barrier islands ahead of its expected landfall early Sunday, and evacuations began at some offshore oil platforms in the Gulf.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center said Nate could cause dangerous flooding by dumping as much as 6 to 10 inches (18 to 25 centimeters) of rain as it moved over Honduras, with higher accumulations in a few places.
It had maximum sustained winds of 45 mph (75 kph) by Friday morning and was likely to strengthen over the northwestern Caribbean Sea on Friday before a possible strike on the Cancun region at the tip of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula at near-hurricane strength. It could hit the U.S. Gulf coast near New Orleans.
In Nicaragua, Nate's arrival followed two weeks of near-constant rain that had left the ground saturated and rivers swollen. Authorities placed the whole country on alert and warned of flooding and landslides.
Nicaragua's vice president and spokeswoman, Rosario Murillo, said that at least 15 people had died in that country due to the storm. She didn't give details on all the deaths, but said two women and a man who worked for the Health Ministry were swept away by a flooded canal in the central municipality of Juigalpa.
Costa Rica's Judicial Investigation Organism blamed seven deaths in that country on the storm and said 15 people were missing. Flooding drove 5,000 residents into emergency shelters.
The forecast track showed that Nate could brush across the tip of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula as a tropical storm late Friday night.
In Louisiana, Gov. John Bel Edwards declared a state of emergency and mobilized 1,300 National Guard troops, with 15 headed to New Orleans to monitor the fragile pumping system there.
With forecasts projecting landfall in southeast Louisiana as a Category 1 hurricane, Edwards urged residents to ready for rainfall, storm surge and severe winds -- and to be where they intend to hunker down by "dark on Saturday."
Louisiana's governor says Nate is forecast to move quickly, rather than stall and drop tremendous amounts of rain on the state. State officials hope that means New Orleans won't run into problems with its pumps being able to handle the water.
Edwards warned, however, against underestimating the storm.
Officials ordered the evacuation of part of coastal St. Bernard Parish east of New Orleans ahead of the storm. Earlier Thursday, a voluntary evacuation was called in the barrier island town of Grand Isle south of New Orleans.
New Orleans officials outlined steps to bolster the city's pump and drainage system. Weaknesses in that system were revealed during summer flash floods.
The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement's New Orleans office said in a news release that as of midday Thursday, six production platforms, out of the 737 manned platforms in the Gulf, had been evacuated. No drilling rigs were evacuated, but one moveable rig was taken out of the storm's path.
The agency estimated less than 15 percent of the current oil production in the Gulf of Mexico has been shut-in, which equates to 254,607 barrels of oil per day.
Early Friday, the storm was centered about 230 miles (370 kilometers) south-southeast of Cozumel, Mexico, and was moving north-northwest at 14 mph (22 kph).
Above: A view of Fort Worth from The Stayton at Museum Way. Below, Dallas from Lake Cliff Tower.
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