TAMPA (FOX 13) - Tropical Storm Nate has formed along the coast of Nicaragua in the southwestern Caribbean Sea and is expected to move north into the Gulf of Mexico, strengthening along the way.
As of Thursday morning, the track shifted further west from Florida. It’s still too early to say for sure how the potential storm will affect the state but most long-range models have the system making landfall somewhere along the Gulf Coast as a tropical storm or hurricane this weekend.
FOX 13's chief meteorologist Paul Dellegatto said an area of high pressure is expected to build over Florida forcing Nate to move more northerly rather than turning northeast toward the panhandle.
"The overnight run of the Euro model picked up on this and shifted its track to be more in line with most of the other models," he said. "The National Hurricane Center had no choice but to shift the track dramatically to the east."
Dellegatto also said the Florida peninsula appears to be in decent shape as the storm should pass safely to our west.
"It's still a challenging forecast, especially as far as intensity is concerned, due to the track interacting with land along the way," he added.
Nate is expected to be a tropical storm or a Category 1 hurricane to be near the northern Gulf coast on Sunday morning.
As of the 5 a.m. NHC update, the system had maximum sustained winds of 40 mph. A tropical storm warning was in effect for parts of Nicaragua and Honduras, with a hurricane watch in effect for parts of Mexico.