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Quintana Roo, Yucatan spared as Hurricane Nate changes course

Cancun, Q.R. — Most of the coastal regions of the state of Quintana Roo braced for the arrival of Nate last night, however, the storm didn’t arrive.

The most-hard hit places, according the National Hurricane Center, were to be Isla Cozumel and the city of Cancun. Nate was expected to land the region around 7:00 p.m. local time, bringing with it hard winds and torrential rains.

While Nate did arrive in all his glory, the storm’s trajectory changed mere hours before entering the region. Weather models found Nate had changed course, albeit slightly, and passed the area between 5:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. about 50 kilometers east of Cozumel.

This slight change in course was enough to spare Cozumel and the coast of Quintana Roo and Yucatan from the damaging winds and predicted 75 mm-plus torrential rainfall. Although Mexico’s Civil Protection knew of the course change, they continued with the yellow (moderate damage possibility) alert for the general population, reminding people to remain vigilant in the event the storm changed course again.

According to the National Meteorological Service, Nate passed Cozumel, advancing rapidly over the warm Gulf of Mexico waters and intensified with maximum sustained winds of 85 miles per hour and gusts of 100 miles per hour as it officially became a category 1 hurricane.

Only light rains were felt during the evening hours along the coast of Quintana Roo.

The National Hurricane Center says that as of 5:00 a.m. Saturday morning, Nate was recorded 345 miles south-southeast of the mouth of the Mississippi River in the southern Gulf of Mexico. Packing 80 miles per hour winds and moving northwest at 22 mph, a Category 1 hurricane warning is in effect from Louisiana to Alabama.

“A hurricane warning is in effect for portions of the northern Gulf Coast from Louisiana to Alabama, and preparations to protect life and property should be rushed to completion in these areas,” the hurricane center said. “Life-threatening storm surge flooding is likely along portions of the northern Gulf Coast.”