10/5/17 7:15 p.m.
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey has issued a statewide state of emergency ahead of Tropical Storm Nate.
Nate is expected to reach the northern Gulf Coast over the weekend as a hurricane, when it makes landfall Sunday morning.
In Alabama, winds of 75 mph and gusts to 90 mph are expected near the coast. Further inland over the western 2/3rds of the state, according to the National Weather Service, sustained winds of 35 to 45 mph with gusts to 60 mph are forecast as far north as the Birmingham/Gadsden area.
The emergency declaration is effective as of Friday at 7 a.m.
Ivey, at a news conference Thursday, said she signed the declaration because it frees up personnel and resources in case there's a need to respond to any storm-related activity.
JACKSON, Miss. (WTVA) - The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency has activated its Emergency Operations Center because of a possible hurricane that could affect the Magnolia State this weekend.
MEMA Director Lee Smithson says the EOC is operating at minimal staffing Thursday but will be fully staffed with other state agencies starting at 7 a.m. Friday.
At the moment, Tropical Storm Nate has not even entered the Gulf of Mexico, but forecasters say it could grow into a minimal hurricane before making landfall in the United States.
Officials along the Mississippi Gulf Coast are paying close attention to the tropical system since thousands of tourists are expected this weekend for a classic car event and a music festival.
Smithson says his agency's focus, however, is not just on South Mississippi but the entire state.
"When Hurricane Harvey, the remnants of it, came through Mississippi, we had 20 confirmed tornadoes in the state of Mississippi. And it was from the coast all the way up to Tishomingo County," Smithson told reporters Thursday.