Tropical Storm Nate heads north after pummeling Central America

Tropical Storm Nate roared toward Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula Friday after drenching Central America in rain that was blamed for at least 22 deaths, and forecasters said it could reach the U.S. Gulf Coast as a hurricane over the weekend.

Louisiana officials declared a state of emergency and ordered some people to evacuate coastal areas and barrier islands ahead of its expected landfall early Sunday, and evacuations began at some offshore oil platforms in the Gulf.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center said Nate could cause dangerous flooding by dumping as much as 6 to 10 inches (18 to 25 centimeters) of rain as it moved over Honduras, with higher accumulations in a few places.

It had maximum sustained winds of 45 mph (75 kph) by Friday morning and was likely to strengthen over the northwestern Caribbean Sea on Friday before a possible strike on the Cancun region at the tip of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula at near-hurricane strength. It could hit the U.S. Gulf coast near New Orleans.

In Nicaragua, Nate’s arrival followed two weeks of near-constant rain that had left the ground saturated and rivers swollen. Authorities placed the whole country on alert and warned of flooding and landslides. (AP)

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San Jose, Costa Rica

The flooded Tiribi river is seen during heavy rains of Tropical Storm Nate that affects the country in San Jose, Costa Rica, Oct. 5, 2017. (Photo: Juan Carlos Ulate/Reuters)

Rivas, Nicaragua

A woman takes care of her son at an improvised shelter after the storm Nate, in the Iguanal community in Rivas, Nicaragua, Oct. 5, 2017. (Photo: Jorge Torres/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)

San Jose, Costa Rica

A men stands near Tiribi river, flooded by heavy rains from Tropical Storm Nate in San Jose, Costa Rica, Oct. 5, 2017. (Photo: Juan Carlos Ulate/Reuters)

San Jose, Costa Rica

Houses damaged by a mudslide are seen during heavy rains of Tropical Storm Nate that affects the country in San Jose, Costa Rica, Oct. 5, 2017. (Photo: Juan Carlos Ulate/Reuters)

Managua, Nicaragua

A resident look at damage caused by heavy rains of Tropical Storm Nate on Masachapa river in outskirts of Managua, Nicaragua, Oct. 5,2017. (Photo: Oswaldo Rivas/Reuters)

Managua, Nicaragua

A man walks by a fallen tree after the passing of Storm Nate on the road to Masaya in Managua, Nicaragua on Oct. 6, 2017. (Photo: Jorge Torres/EFE via ZUMA Press)

San Jose, Costa Rica

People recover some zinc sheets after a mudslide damaged their homes during heavy rains by Tropical Storm Nate in San Jose, Costa Rica, Oct. 5, 2017. (Photo: Juan Carlos Ulate/Reuters)

Alajuelita, Costa Rica

People in a neighborhood are evacuated due to the danger of a mudslide during heavy rains by Tropical Storm Nate in Alajuelita, Costa Rica, Oct. 5, 2017. (Photo: Juan Carlos Ulate/Reuters)

Alajuelita, Costa Rica

Neighbors walk under the rain past a washed out road in Alajuelita on the outskirts of San Jose, Costa Rica, Thursday, Oct. 5, 2017. (Photo: Moises Castillo/AP)

Alajuelita, Costa Rica

Neighbors walk under the rain past a washed out road in Alajuelita on the outskirts of San Jose, Costa Rica, Thursday, Oct. 5, 2017. (Photo: Moises Castillo/AP)

Managua, Nicaragua

A resident stands on the shore of the Masachapa river, flooded by heavy rains by Tropical Storm Nate in the outskirts of Managua, Nicaragua, Oct. 5, 2017. (Photo: Oswaldo Rivas/Reuters)

Tropical Storm Nate over Nicaragua

Tropical Storm Nate ashore over Nicaragua on Oct. 5, 2017.
GOES-16 captured this geocolor image of Tropical Storm Nate on October 5, 2017. The center of Nate is inland over northeastern Nicaragua, and little change in strength is expected until the center moves over the northwestern Caribbean Sea. After that, a combination of warm sea surface temperatures and light shear should allow for at least steady strengthening. (Photo: NOAA)

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