Tropical Storm Nate was declared a hurricane late Friday night as it continues to make its way toward the U.S. Gulf Coast, which is bracing for a potential direct hit Sunday.
Nate is currently a Category 1 hurricane, with maximum sustained winds of 75 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center. The storm has already unleashed heavy rain and flooding over parts of Central America, where several people have died.
In Nicaragua, the death toll reached at least 11 on Thursday, while thousands of people had to evacuate their homes and several others were reported missing, according toVice President Rosario Murillo. Nate follows nearly two weeks of heavy rain that has saturated the ground there, reports The Associated Press. Murillo said the recent rainfall is not part of Nate's storm system.
In Costa Rica, officials blamed the storm for at least seven deaths, the AP says. Schools across the country were suspended Thursday because of heavy rainfall. In Honduras, two young people drowned in a swollen river, and in neighboring El Salvador, a man was killed in a mudslide, reports Reuters.