Published 3:29 am Saturday, October 7, 2017

As predicted, Nate became a hurricane late Friday.

The tropical storm, which killed 24 people in Central America, continued to intensify late Friday as it raced northward on a path that could bring it to the northern Gulf Coast in less than 24 hours.

The National Hurricane Center issued a special update at 10:30 p.m. CDT Friday and said an Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter aircraft found hurricane-force winds in the center of the storm. The maximum winds were estimated to be 80 mph with higher gusts.

Nate is expected to move quickly across the Gulf and could be nearing the coast of Louisiana by Saturday night. At midnight, the latest projects had the storm coming ashore Early Sunday somewhere along the Louisana coast. However, the forecast track shifted to the east, and showed Nate moving quickly toward the Alabama-Mississippi border.

Covington County could see tropical storm force winds Sunday and into Monday. At midnight, the county had been placed under a tropical storm watch, and hurricane warning were in effect in Mobile and Baldwin counties in Alabama, and for Pensacola in Florida.