Watch out, South Alabama, Weather Channel meteorologist Jim Cantore is headed your way.
Cantore arrived at the Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport late Thursday afternoon and by lunchtime Friday was on his way east to Orange Beach and Gulf Shores, Ala.
The center of Tropical Storm Nate, which is forecast to become a hurricane before landfall, could come ashore in South Mississippi, Cantore said in a phone interview with the Sun Herald.
“All the big impacts are going to be on the east side,” he said, which is why he’ll face the wind and rain in Alabama.
“It’s not going to be Maria and Irma and Harvey,” he said, referring to this year’s major hurricanes that gave a 1-2-3 punch since August.
“There’s going to be some impacts, some wind, rain, surge,” he said. Those will be felt in Pascagoula and certainly in Mobile and Orange Beach, where he is headed, he said.
As confident as the experts are in the track of Nate, he said it’s the complete opposite in determining the velocity of the storm.
The latest report from the National Hurricane Center said the Rapid Intensification Index of the SHIPS model continues to show a chance of rapid intensification but the current structure of the storm does not favor rapid development.
The speed of Nate, which is expected to reach Virginia by Monday morning and be off the New England coast by Tuesday, is something Cantore said he would argue could keep it from intensifying.
“This is a little bit different when you get into October,” he said. When he did a live report from Gulfport on Friday morning, “It was almost a little chilly,” he said.
He was in town long enough to see the antique and classic cars in South Mississippi for Cruisin’ The Coast. “Everyone’s having a good time,” he said, even if the event has to end a day early because of Nate.
It feels “fantastic” to be back on the Coast, he said, although not everyone was glad to see him since he goes where the intensity of the storm is going to be greatest.
Cantore recalled the experience of being in Gulfport 12 years ago when Hurricane Katrina roared ashore, the storm surge flooding the Armed Forces Retirement Home where he survived the storm with the residents.
Many of the names of the storms in 2005 were the same as this year, and just like then, the storms keep coming.
“It’s exhausting going out for so many storms,” he said. Viewers want to see what’s happening outside, he said, so the crews are in the field during a hurricane and can report longer into a storm. A satellite truck can’t stay operating in winds over 70 mph, he said, but he can continue to provide live reports with social media and a cell phone.