Gulf Coast braces for fast-moving blast of tropical weather

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NEW ORLEANS – Gulf Coast residents are bracing for a blast of wind, heavy rain and rising water as Tropical Storm Nate threatens to reach hurricane strength before a weekend landfall.

The National Hurricane Center on Friday issued hurricane and storm surge warnings for southeast Louisiana and the Mississippi and Alabama coasts. The storm is forecast to dump 3 to 6 inches of rain, with isolated totals of 12 inches.

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards declared a state of emergency and mobilized 1,300 National Guard troops. Some are heading to New Orleans, where summer storms have exposed problems with the city's pumping system.

Mississippi officials are providing sandbags in the state's three coastal counties. The storm threatened to disrupt one of the coast's biggest annual tourist events, the "Cruisin' the Coast" auto show.

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