Tropical Storm Nate made its way to Central America Thursday, leaving at least nine people dead. Six were killed when the storm hit Costa Rica, while another three died in Nicaragua. At least 15 people were missing as a result of the storm, according to local news outlet La Prensa.

Nate began as Tropical Depression 16 but was upgraded Thursday to a tropical storm. Nate brought winds of about 40 mph when it hit the region Thursday and was expected to make its way northeast across Nicaragua and Honduras. Rainfall could reach up to 30 inches in Nicaragua and 20 inches in Costa Rica, the National Hurricane Center said. Costa Rica President Luis Guillermo Solis declared a national state of emergency Thursday morning as a result of the storm.

“Nate is projected to move northward and become a hurricane despite brushing land in Nicaragua, Honduras and Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula,” said AccuWeather meteorologist Brett Rossio.

The storm was likely to move back over water Friday, potentially becoming a hurricane thanks to warm water temperatures.

“It is still too early to pin down the timing, location or magnitude of the impacts of wind, storm, surge and rainfall,” said Dennis Feltgen of the National Hurricane Center, according to NBC News.

Nate was expected to impact the United States mainland over the weekend, likely hitting the northern Gulf Coast in places like southeast Louisiana and Florida, according to the Weather Channel. Forecasts also showed the storm could hit the Florida panhandle.

“How much Nate is able to strengthen once it hits those warm waters depends a lot on how intact the center of the storm can maintain as it traverses land,” said CNN meteorologist Brandon Miller. “If it gets ragged, it will take some time to reform over the ocean and that will mean less time to gain in intensity.”