By Samuel Mattison
Alabama Political Reporter
Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey declared a statewide state of emergency for Tropical Storm Nate, whose projected path has it hitting Alabama by Sunday.
The state of emergency order also authorizes the State Emergency Operations Center in Clanton, Alabama, to monitor the storm. Ivey said in a statement that the order will free up resources for “’storm related activity.”
“State and local leaders are ready to respond if needed, but our people need to stay weather-aware and heed any directions given by local officials,” Ivey said in a release.
The storm is currently in the Gulf of Mexico near the Central American country Honduras as of Thursday evening. It is expected to be upgraded to a hurricane as it goes north through the Gulf of Mexico.
From there the category 1 hurricane will hit Louisiana and Mississippi and then will decrease until it is a tropical storm in Mississippi. The storm is expected to hit with minimal effects in Central and Northern Alabama with Southeastern Alabama expected to be hit.
Winds are expected to reach 35- 45 mph in the Birmingham area, according to a release from the governor’s office. Gusts could reach 60 mph.
The National Weather Service in Birmingham expects the storm to be a fast and compact storm.
Brian Hastings, the director of the Alabama Emergency Management Agency, said residents need to prepare for the storm.
“It is important for Alabama residents to understand the potential threat of this storm goes beyond the coastal counties,” Hastings said. “Everyone needs to closely monitor this system as it moves across the state in the coming days.”
The storm is expected to hit Alabama over the weekend as a weakened tropical storm.
Alabama dealt with Hurricane Irma just last month as the category 4 hurricane barreled into Florida causing millions of dollars in damage.
The incoming storm caused millions of Floridians to pour into Alabama as they headed northward to escape the path. Of the estimated 8 million that left, 200,000 took refuge in Alabama to wait out the storm.
As Irma hit Alabama, it caused minimal damage compared to Florida and parts of Georgia. The result was thousands of residents left without power for two days, and winds knocking down power lines and trees.
The storm traveled northwestward through Alabama until it was downgraded to a tropical depression in North Alabama.