The outer bands of Hurricane Nate flogged parts of Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi with heavy rain Saturday afternoon as Gulf Coast residents prepared for an evening landfall and those in low-lying fields fled for higher ground.

As of 5 p. m. ET, Nate was situated about 50 miles south of the mouth of the Mississippi River and about 140 miles south of Biloxi, Miss. Nate was a Category 1 cyclone with maximum gales of 90 mph. Forecasters said it’s possible that it could strengthen to a Category 2 with gusts of at the least 96 mph before it attains landfall.