Tropical Storm Nate’s path takes it toward U.S.; warnings posted ahead of storm

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Tropical Storm Nate killed 20 people in Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Honduras on Thursday, officials said.

Hurricane and tropical storm warnings have been issued in three US states as the storm barrels northward. [The New York area could see the remnants of the storm, delivering heavy rain, by early Tuesday, though the forecast track could change.]

Seven people are still missing after the storm hit Nicaragua, the country’s vice president said.

It is forecast to make landfall on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula on Friday with up to 8 inches (20 centimeters) of rain.

An advisory from the US National Hurricane Center said warnings had been issued for portions of the Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama coastlines, with the storm expected to hit the region late Saturday or early Sunday as a Category 1 hurricane.

Nate’s forecast track had shifted slightly by late Thursday morning, putting New Orleans — and its compromised drainage system — directly in the storm’s sights.

The forecast cone also covered a small sliver of the Florida Panhandle, where officials still reeling from Hurricane Irma enacted emergency plans.

Additionally, offshore oil and gas operators have evacuated personnel from six of the 737 manned oil and natural gas production platforms in the Gulf of Mexico, according to the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement.

Unlike drilling rigs, which usually move locations, production platforms stay in the same location during a project. One drilling rig was moved out of the storm’s predicted path as a precaution.