The next 36-48 hours remains a very difficult forecast regarding Tropical Storm Nate's future intensity and track, but it does appear rather likely that portions of the storm may not only impact Louisiana, but portions of Acadiana.
Nate was inland crossing the Nicaragua/Honduras border Thursday afternoon with the convection ragged and much weaker than surrounding smaller swirls within a large Central American gyre of low pressure.
It would be completely possible for this system to be permanently hurt by travel over land through tonight, but the system should emerge in the Gulf of Honduras early Friday, where the system does have a window of opportunity potential to develop to a more traditional looking tropical storm.
The other question mark before Nate ever reaches the Gulf, is whether it will go over land again along the tip of the Yucatan or stay over water?
Either way, we won't know the specifics about a Gulf Coast landfall and intensity until after the system clears the Yucatan Friday night.
Obviously a clear path over water will potentially make for a stronger storm, while one closer to, and over portions of land, will keep Nate more disorganized.
Be ready thereafter, as more specific information will escalate quickly regarding Nate by Saturday morning, as the storm should then accelerate quickly northward, bringing tropical storm, possible hurricane conditions to portions of Louisiana, or anywhere through the Florida Panhandle as early as late Saturday afternoon, into Saturday night and Sunday morning.
The National Hurricane Center's forecast track has been in between the more eastward solutions of the European Model and the weaker GFS solution that is farther to the west.
Meanwhile. the RPM Model supports the GFS model with greater impacts upon Acadiana possible.
Models do generally agree on a landfall sometime Saturday night through Sunday morning s a Category 1 hurricane, but it could also be stronger...always prepare for a storm one category higher than forecast.
For now, the most prudent way to play this system for Acadiana is to plan for some impacts locally, especially the eastern portions of the area.
The risk of tropical storm force winds has been steadily rising while the risk of those winds are larger than the "cone of uncertainty".
Lafayette went from a 10% or less chance of tropical storm force winds this weekend to upwards of 35% late this afternoon...these numbers may continue to rise, depending on the future track guidance
So the forecast storm impacts (below) for now are delineated by a fast-moving, tropical storm (perhaps hurricane), making landfall somewhere in Acadiana...but that is not the most likely scenario at this point...and this graphic will change drastically...but it's a starting point for now.
The surge, wind, flood, and tornado threats will be contingent on landfall location and intensity and will likely change and vary greatly over the next 36 hours. Needless to say, forecast confidence on Nate is way below average.
The bigger picture across the Gulf this weekend will have drier air to the west, all but insuring that the storm will likely be a lopsided affair, with by far, the highest winds, the heaviest rains, surge risk within Nate's eastern semicircle.
There would be a distinct possibility of wherever the storm makes landfall that not much rain and just a gust of wind to 35 mph will be found 60-80 miles of west of where Nate makes landfall, while it will be a whole another ballgame up near, and up to 100-150 miles to the east. of the center.
Expect Tropical Storm and Hurricane Watches to be issued for portions of Louisiana later tonight or by Friday morning.
Stay with KATC, katc.com and KATC social media for the latest on Nate...