Natemakes landfall in United States as Category 1 hurricane
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.