The system formed in the Caribbean Wednesday and "is expected to become Tropical Storm Nate later today or tonight", according to the National Hurricane Center. A hurricane hunter plane is scheduled to investigate the storm later Wednesday. The good news is that this storm doesn't look almost as strong as the past few hurricanes which have impacted the US.
Check The Palm Beach Post's live storm tracking map. It will move toward the northern Gulf Coast this weekend. From there, uncertainty in the forecast means either a washout for Middle Tennessee and Southern Kentucky, or just a few light showers.
Offshore rigs and platforms in the Gulf of Mexico account for about 17 percent of US crude oil output and 4.1 percent of gas production. A forecast cone from the National Hurricane Center projected the storm will make landfall as a hurricane this weekend somewhere between New Orleans and Tampa Bay, with the Florida Panhandle as the center point. The Yucatán Peninsula may be impacted by tropical storm or hurricane conditions Friday and Saturday.
I would say it is doubtful that the system becomes a hurricane due to dry air west of the path, and westerly shear.
The main impacts, there, will include bands of locally heavy rain, elevated surf, and some stronger wind gusts. This tropical system is forming in an area considered highly favorable for development.
Earlier in the season, forecasters upped their prediction for the number of storms to between 14 and 19, with two to five major hurricanes.
The Gulf's warm waters make a strong case for another hurricane to spring up before the season ends on November 30.