SAN FRANCISCO – Just off the phone with Mark Michaelsen, who once again seems to have been ahead of the National Hurricane Center when it comes to making the 'cane call on when, where and how much. Early yesterday Mark was saying Nate was "upwardly mobile" and likely to be an "overachiever." Sure enough, the latest out of the NHC is that Nate will strike the Gulf Coast as a Cat 2, up from the Cat 1 they were saying all day yesterday and even early this morning.
As to where, Mark was less certain; indeed, if you go to windy.com, zoom in New Orleans and the Gulf to the south and east, set the timeline to 2100 tonight (Saturday), you can then click on the three main models, NAM (North American), ECMWF (European) and NAM (a newer, short range North American meso-scale model) and see for yourself the lack of agreement.
Regardless, a Cat 2 storm is 83-95 knots, and one assumes our many Gulf Yachting Association friends are tending to their boats and clubs rather than watching SEC football. Besides, everyone knows Alabama will win again today; get things battened down then watch the more interesting Michigan-Michigan State game starting at 1930 tonight under the lights at the Big House in Ann Arbor.
Screengrab below is the NAM model for 2100 tonight. If you believe that, our many sailing friends east of New Orleans (Bay St Louis to Mobile Bay) could have a rough evening. The NAM forecast could also push a lot of water out of Lake Pontchartrain onto the grounds of Southern YC and New Orleans YC and even into the City of New Orleans itself. Here's hoping the post-Kartrina levees hold.
Mark says the good news is that Nate does not have a well-formed eye, and is moving fast, 19-26 knots, and will continue to do so through Saturday evening and night (when landfall is expected under all three models) – meaning that whichever area takes the direct hit (and the shoreline that is in the storm's most dangerous NE quadrant) will have to suffer the strong winds for a relatively brief time.
Here's hoping all our GYA friends will be safe and sound, and the impact of 2017's latest Hurricane is minimal.
Forecast for 2100 Saturday evening, using the NAM model, courtesy of Windy.com. The eye, such as it is, would be east of downtown New Orleans and the GYA clubs east of NO would be taking the main hit.