Natemakes land­fall in United States as Cat­e­gory 1 hur­ri­cane

Richmond Times-Dispatch Weekend - - NATION & WORLD -

NEWORLEANS— Hur­ri­cane Nate came ashore a sparsely pop­u­lated area at the mouth of the Mis­sis­sippi River on Satur­day and pelted the cen­tral Gulf Coast with wind and rain as the fast- mov­ing storm headed to­ward the Mis­sis­sippi coast, where it was ex­pected to make an­other land­fall and threat­ened to in­un­date homes and busi­nesses.

Nate was ex­pected to pass to the east of New Or­leans, spar­ing the city its most fe­ro­cious winds and storm surge. And its quick speed less­ened the like­li­hood of pro­longed rain that would tax the city’s weak­ened drainage pump sys­tem.

The city fa­mous for all­night par­ty­ing was placed un­der a cur­few, ef­fec­tive at 7 p. m., but the mayor lifted it when it ap­peared the storm would pass by and cause lit­tle prob­lems for the city. Still, the streets were not nearly as crowded as they typ­i­cally are on a Satur­day night, and Mayor Mitch Lan­drieu asked peo­ple to shel­ter in place.

Cities along the Mis­sis­sippi coast such as Gulf­port and Biloxi were on high alert. Some beach­front ho­tels and casi­nos were evac­u­ated, and rain began fall­ing on the re­gion Satur­day. Fore­cast­ers called for 3 to 6 inches with as much as 10 inches in some iso­lated places.

Nate weak­ened slightly and was a Cat­e­gory 1 storm with max­i­mum winds of 85 mph when it made land­fall in a sparsely pop­u­lated area of Plaque­m­ines Par­ish. Fore­cast­ers had said it was pos­si­ble that it could strengthen to a Cat­e­gory 2, but that seemed less likely as the night wore on.

Gov­er­nors in Louisiana, Mis­sis­sippi and Alabama de­clared states of emer­gency. The three states have been

mostly spared dur­ing this hec­tic hur­ri­cane sea­son.

“This is the worst hur­ri­cane that has im­pacted Mis­sis­sippi since Hur­ri­cane Ka­t­rina,” Mis­sis­sippi Emer­gency Man­age­ment Di­rec­tor Lee Smith­son said Satur­day. “Ev­ery­one needs to un­der­stand that this is a sig­nif­i­cantly dan­ger­ous sit­u­a­tion.”

Of­fi­cials res­cued five peo­ple from two sail­boats in choppy wa­ters be­fore the storm. One 41- foot sail­boat lost its engine in Lake Pontchar­train and two sailors were saved.

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Ed­wards urged res­i­dents to make fi­nal prepa­ra­tions quickly and stressed that

Nate will bring the pos­si­bil­ity of storm surge reach­ing up to 11 feet in some coastal ar­eas.

Streets in low- ly­ing ar­eas of Louisiana were al­ready flooded. Places out­side of levee pro­tec­tions were un­der manda­tory evac­u­a­tion or­ders.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott warned res­i­dents of the Pan­han­dle to pre­pare for Nate’s im­pact.

“Hur­ri­cane Nate is ex­pected to bring life- threat­en­ing storm surges, strong winds and tor­na­dos that could reach across the Pan­han­dle,” Scott said. The evac­u­a­tions af­fect roughly 100,000 res­i­dents in the west­ern Pan­han­dle.

At 8 p. m. Satur­day, Nate was about 10 miles south­west of the mouth of the Mis­sis­sippi River. The storm was ex­pected to quickly weaken as it cuts a path through the South­east on its way to the Mid- At­lantic and North­east re­gions, which could see im­pacts from Nate early this week.

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