Gulf Coast bat­tens down; Cat­e­gory 1 storm hits land

Of­fi­cials take emer­gency mea­sures in La., Miss., Ala., Fla.

USA TODAY Weekend Extra - - FRONT PAGE - Doug Stan­glin @dstan­glin

Hur­ri­cane Nate made land­fall near the mouth of the Mis­sis­sippi River as a Cat­e­gory 1 storm Satur­day night, with manda­tory evac­u­a­tions, cur­fews and beach clo­sures in ef­fect.

The Na­tional Hur­ri­cane Cen­ter fore­cast that the storm, which was mov­ing about 23 mph, would pass over por­tions of Mis­sis­sippi, Alabama and Ten­nessee be­fore turn­ing north­east and head­ing up the coast.

Fore­cast­ers said Nate ap­peared to have lost some strength but could gain it back. Max­i­mum sus­tained winds were 85 mph as it made land­fall about 8 p.m. ET, with higher gusts, the Na­tional Hur­ri­cane Cen­ter re­ported.

Across the im­me­di­ate fore­cast im­pact area, four Gulf Coast states — Louisiana, Mis­sis­sippi, Alabama and Florida — de­clared emer­gency mea­sures, in­clud­ing manda­tory evac­u­a­tions, cur­fews, beach clo­sures and traf­fic block­ades at flood­prone un­der­passes.

The cen­ter is­sued a hur­ri­cane warn­ing for metropoli­tan New Or­leans and Lake Pontchar­train and a coastal stretch from Grand Isle, La., to the Alabama-Florida bor­der. A trop­i­cal storm warn­ing was in ef­fect east of the Okaloosa/Wal­ton County Line in Florida to Indi-

“This is the most dan­ger­ous hur­ri­cane to hit Mis­sis­sippi since Ka­t­rina, make no mis­take.”

Mis­sis­sippi Emer­gency Man­age­ment Agency Di­rec­tor Lee Smith­son

an Pass, Fla.

The fore­cast warned of a storm surge up to 11 feet in some ar­eas.

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Ed­wards urged res­i­dents to take the warn­ings se­ri­ously, say­ing the storm “has the po­ten­tial to do a lot of dam­age.”

“We do want peo­ple to be very, very cau­tious and to not take this storm for granted,” Ed­wards said.

The state Na­tional Guard mo­bi­lized 1,300 troops and po­si­tioned high-wa­ter ve­hi­cles, boats and buses to help with res­cues.

Pres­i­dent Trump ap­proved an emer­gency dec­la­ra­tion for a large area of the state and or­dered fed­eral as­sis­tance for Louisiana as Nate ap­proached.

New Or­leans Mayor Mitch Lan­drieu said 109 of the 120 pumps crit­i­cal for drain­ing the low-ly­ing city were func­tion­ing — a 92% ca­pac­ity.

“We are ready for what­ever Nate brings our way,” he said.

In Mis­sis­sippi, Gov. Phil Bryant de­clared a state of emer­gency in the six south­ern­most coun­ties. State of­fi­cials warned that Nate’s main dan­ger was the pos­si­bil­ity of up to 10 feet of storm surge in low-ly­ing coastal ar­eas, as well as from winds that could dam­age mo­bile homes.

“This is the most dan­ger­ous hur­ri­cane to hit Mis­sis­sippi since Ka­t­rina, make no mis­take,” Mis­sis­sippi Emer­gency Man­age­ment Agency Di­rec­tor Lee Smith­son said. He warned peo­ple to be pre­pared to be self-suf­fi­cient for at least 72 hours. A 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. cur­few was or­dered for Jack­son County, where the brunt of Nate is ex­pected.

“We are ready for what­ever Nate brings our way.”

New Or­leans Mayor Mitch Lan­drieu

BRYAN TARNOWSKI,

Johnice Katz works to clear the storm drain in front of her New Or­leans home Satur­day in prepa­ra­tion for Hur­ri­cane Nate.

SEAN GARD­NER,

New Or­leans res­i­dents fill sand­bags Satur­day as the Gulf Coast an­tic­i­pates the hur­ri­cane.

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