Environment

Updated at 11:48 p.m. ET

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.

Updated at 2 p.m. ET

A tropical cyclone in the northwestern Caribbean Sea has been upgraded to a named storm, Tropical Storm Nate. The system is likely to become a hurricane in the next three days and could hit the northern Gulf Coast on Sunday morning, forecasters say.

"Residents along the Gulf Coast from Louisiana through the Florida Panhandle should monitor the progress of this system and heed any advice given by local officials," the National Hurricane Center says.

A new tropical depression has formed in the southwestern Caribbean Sea — and it is expected to develop into a hurricane before possibly hitting the U.S. Gulf Coast late this weekend, the National Hurricane Center says.

Roger Rosentreter, 123rf Stock Photo

This week marks the start of Kentucky’s Forest Fire Hazard Season. A leading state forest fire official hopes this fall’s burnings are fewer and less severe than last year.

Kentucky Division of Forestry via Facebook

The Kentucky Division of Forestry is preparing for fall wildfire season. Each year, there are about 1,500 wildfires in the state, based on a 10-year average.

GREGORY DEAN/123 STOCK PHOTO

  The National Weather Service will be simplifying parts of their hazard advisory system starting October 2.

Courtesy Idea Festival

  Our climate is changing, and that means that some organisms will likely change with it. That’s the research focus of climate change biologist Scott Hotaling, who will present at the Idea Festival in Louisville this week.

Photos by Kara Lofton, illustration by Jesse Wright, WVPB

The hurricane season’s super-charged storms highlighted the importance of disaster planning, and it’s not just a concern for the coasts. Scientists warn that heavy rain events have become more common in the Ohio Valley. Here's how some flood-prone communities are preparing for what experts call “the new normal” of extreme weather. 

On the side of a busy expressway in northern Puerto Rico, dozens of cars stand in a line, parked at careless angles off the shoulder. Drivers hold their phones out of car windows; couples walk along the grass raising their arm skyward.

This is not a picturesque stretch of road. It's about 90 degrees out, and the sun is beating down relentlessly. All you can hear is the rumble of cars and trucks passing by, sometimes dangerously close. Then, inside a Ford Escape near the edge of the highway, Casandra Caba exclaims, "Look!"

Updated at 11 p.m. ET

Puerto Rico is trying to start the process of recovering from Hurricane Maria — and it's doing so after the powerful storm blew homes apart, filled roads with water and tore at its infrastructure. Flash floods are persisting, and the island has no electricity service.

"We are without power, the whole island is without power," Jenniffer González-Colón, Puerto Rico's resident commissioner — its representative in Congress — told Morning Edition on Thursday. González-Colón spoke from Carolina, near San Juan.

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