The depression developing in the Caribbean continues to move ever-slowly to the northwest as its expected to head into the Gulf of Mexico later this week, with an eventual landfall along the central Gulf Coast expected sometime Sunday. Meanwhile, newer model data show a slower moving storm and a path farther west than previously forecast.
Tropical Depression 16 formed in the Caribbean Wednesday afternoon and is heading toward the Gulf of Mexico at 6 mph, the National Hurricane Center said Wednesday evening in its 11 p.m. forecast.
NHC officials said the storm has slowed down and its forecast path has shifted farther west than previously forecast, with the center of the forecast track now predicting landfall near Pensacola Sunday evening.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott is scheduled to fly to Pensacola on Thursday to visit the Escambia Emergency Operations Center in Pensacola to attend a weather briefing followed by a press conference.
The system is expected to strengthen overnight to eventually become Tropical Storm Nate, the 14th named storm of the year. According to the NHC, maximum sustained winds are currently near 35 mph. NHC forecasters predict the cyclone will eventually develop into a hurricane after passing over the Yucatan Peninsula Friday evening.
“The system is forecast to continue strengthening over the Gulf of Mexico and could affect portions of the northern Gulf Coast as a hurricane this weekend,” the official NHC forecast states. “However, it is too early to specify the timing, location, or magnitude of these impacts. Residents along the Gulf Coast from Louisiana to Florida should monitor the progress of this system for the next several days and heed any advice given by local officials.”