TROPICAL WEATHER-ALABAMA— Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey has issued a statewide state of emergency 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. A National Weather Service graphic released yesterday afternoon shows Lee County has a 30 percent chance of being impacted by sustained winds greater than 39 mph during the day Sunday. Stronger gusts are possible in Lee County, and heavy rain could accompany thunderstorms as early as tomorrow morning. Along the Alabama coast, winds of 75 mph and gusts to 90 mph are expected. Further inland over the western two-thirds of the state, sustained winds of 35-45 mph with gusts to 60 mph are forecast as far north as the Birmingham/Gadsden region. The emergency declaration is effective as of this morning at 7 a.m. In a news conference yesterday, Ivey said she signed the declaration because it frees up personnel and resources in case there’s a need to respond to any storm-related activity.