New Orleans, and states from Louisiana to Florida, braced on Friday as forecasters predicted Tropical Storm Nate would pound the Gulf Coast this weekend as a hurricane.
According to the National Hurricane Center, the eye of the storm was expected to pass late on Saturday or early Sunday about 50 miles east of New Orleans, which was devastated 12 years ago by Hurricane Katrina.
It would be the third hurricane, after Harvey and Irma, to hit the US mainland in six weeks.
A tropical storm warning was issued late this morning for New Orleans and Lake Pontchartrain, west to Morgan City, while a hurricane warning was issued from Grand Isle, Louisiana, to the Alabama-Florida border.
Officials said Nate killed at least 21 people as it passed yesterday over Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Honduras, where it caused widespread flash flooding and mudslides.
The National Hurricane Centre said over the warm waters of the northwestern Caribbean Sea, Nate is forecast to gain strength as it approaches the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico later today and possibly strengthen into a Category 1 hurricane by the time it makes landfall along the Gulf Coast.