Hurricane warnings are in effect from Grand Isle, La., to the Alabama/Florida border as Tropical Storm Nate, the 14th of a monumentally busy season, threatens the Gulf Coast with a fresh storm of anxiety.
It is possible that the storm's remnants ultimately will pass near Philadelphia, and while the region won't experience the predicted deluges in Central America, Nate might water down the burgeoning drought conditions around here.
At 11 a.m. Nate was about 185 miles southeast of Cozumel, Mexico, with peak winds at 45 mph, the National Hurricane Center said.
But the center said Nate would exploit the warm Gulf waters as it traveled northward and could make landfall on the coast as a hurricane during the weekend.
Ultimately, Nate's leftovers could affect the Philadelphia region, which is within the cone of the storm's projected path. But at this point that wouldn't necessarily be a bad development, given that nothing has fallen in two weeks and that the government says we're officially rainfall deficient.
After the making landfall, the current track brings it toward Pennsylvania, and the center could pass near Philadelphia.
By the time it would get anywhere near here, it would be what the meteorologists call "post tropical," and the juiciness of any leftovers would be impossible to nail this far in advance.
However, the government's Weather Prediction Center on Friday foresaw the potential for 2 inches of rain, and the hurricane center the hurricane center sees an outside chance for tropical-storm force winds at the Shore and perhaps as far west as Philadelphia.
We certainly could use some rain.
The U.S. Drought Monitor on Thursday painted the city and adjacent areas on both sides of the river in its "abnormally dry" zone.
It noted that the latest U.S. Department of Agriculture report showed a big uptick in "very short topsoil numbers" across Pennsylvania.
As we've reported, rainfall for the last month has been about a quarter of normal in Philadelphia's Pennsylvania collar counties, and about a third of normal in the city and adjacent South Jersey.