TD 16 may enter Gulf as storm by Saturday

Yes, it’s true, Tropical Depression 16 has formed in the southwest Caribbean. It’s expected to become Tropical Storm Nate later today and maybe even enter the southern Gulf of Mexico as Hurricane Nate by Saturday. But forecasters say there’s no major cause for concern at the moment.

“It’s too early to discuss specifics right now because there’s a degree of uncertainty,”  said Biloxi Emergency Manager Michelle Crowley. “The message right now is this: This system has the potential to produce elevated tides, periods of heavy rain, and gusty winds this weekend. Continue to monitor the local weather reports and plan accordingly.”

The system has formed as thousands of visitors are in Biloxi and surrounding communities for the weeklong Cruisin’ the Coast. 

The National Hurricane Center this afternoon said TD 16, with winds of 35 mph, was in the southwest Caribbean, about 195 miles south-southeast of the Nicaragua-Honduras border. It was moving northwest at 7 mph.

The hurricane center expects the system to strengthen and become Tropical Storm Nate later today. Tropical storm force winds begin at 39 mph.

The storm will move near Central America before crossing the Gulf toward the northern Gulf Coast over the weekend. The hurricane center said 15-20 inches of rain will be possible in Nicaragua, with isolated amounts of 30 inches possible.

TD 16 is forecast to move slowly northwestward near or across parts of Honduras and Nicaragua, then into the northwest Caribbean and into the southern Gulf by Saturday, the hurricane center said.

Computer forecast models show potential landfall anywhere from Louisiana to the Florida Panhandle, but the official hurricane center forecast track has the center of the storm near Panama City, Fla., by Sunday morning as a hurricane. But, adds emergency manager Crowley: “It’s too early to say with certainty at this point. Just continue to watch and plan.”
Local forecast:  Blue skies through the weekend
See the National Hurricane Center advisories and track


RVs and the front beach: a new count

Biloxi Fire Chief Joe Boney said a team of firefighters planned to update its count of Cruisin’ the Coast RVs along U.S. 90, perhaps on Friday.

On Wednesday at noon, firefighters said a total of 714 RVs and campers were along U.S. 90, from the Biloxi Bay Bridge to DeBuys Road, and in beachfront RV parks. The number had been expected to increase as the weekend neared.

The firefighters would accelerate the count if any weather advisories needed to be passed on.  “It’s all good right now,” Boney said. “We’ll pass along any word that needs to get out at the appropriate time.  Right now, we’re hoping everyone continues to have a great time, to enjoy this beautiful weather, but also keeps an eye on the weather reports.”

Hundreds of spectators, some spending the night in RVs or campers, line U.S. 90 each night of Cruisin’ the Coast to watch the parade of thousands of cars in town for the weeklong event. 


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