- Associated Press - Thursday, October 5, 2017

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - Gov. Kay Ivey issued a state of emergency for Alabama on Thursday 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 between southeast Louisiana and the Florida peninsula, the National Weather Service said.

In Alabama, winds of 75 mph and gusts to 90 mph are expected near the coast. Further inland, 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 7 a.m. Friday.

“I have signed the state of emergency because it frees up personnel and resources in case there’s a need to respond to any storm-related activity,” Ivey said at a news conference. “State and local leaders are ready to respond if needed, but our people need to stay weather-aware and heed any directions given by local officials.”

Ivey also ordered the State Emergency Operations Center in Clanton to activate to Level 3, which allows Alabama Emergency Management Agency staff to monitor and prepare for the impact of Nate.

In addition, several state agencies such as the Department of Transportation, the Law Enforcement Agency, the Department of Public Health, the Department of Human Resources, the Forestry Commission and the Alabama National Guard have been notified and are prepared to respond.

“The time for residents to prepare is now,” AEMA Director Brian Hastings said. “Please build or restock your emergency preparedness kit, have a plan to communicate with family members if you lose power, review your evacuation plan with your family, stock your vehicle with emergency supplies and have a method to receive the latest weather updates and emergency instructions.”

Ivey’s office said the emergency declaration will remain in effect until the storm threat diminishes.

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