Nate Batters Mississippi And Alabama

Sunday, October 8th 2017, 7:39 am
By: News On 6

Hurricane Nate brought flooding and power outages as it sloshed ashore outside Biloxi early Sunday, the first hurricane to make landfall in Mississippi since Hurricane Katrina in 2005. 

The storm hit the state early Sunday with maximum sustained winds near 85 mph but weakened later to a tropical storm as it moved inland, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said. 

As of 5 a.m. EDT, Nate was centered about 80 miles north-northeast of Biloxi and moving north-northeast near 23 mph.

At one point, Nate's eye move over Keesler Air Force Base, where the National Hurricane Center's hurricane hunter planes are kept, the center said.

It was Nate's second landfall. Saturday night, the storm came ashore along a sparsely populated area in southeast Louisiana.

Nate's powerful winds pushed water onto roads and its winds knocked out power to homes and business. But Nate didn't have the intensity other storms - Harvey, Irma and Jose - had during this busy hurricane season, and people didn't seem as threatened by it. No deaths or injuries were immediately reported.  

More than 25,000 power outages were reported in southern Mississippi, according to CBS affiliate WLOX. Outages were mostly concentrated on the eastern half of the state's narrow coastal strip, in Harrison, Jackson and George counties.  

Follow along with the latest updates below. All times are Eastern unless otherwise noted.  

7:15 a.m.: Nate brings storm surge

As the midnight high tide approached in Biloxi, a storm surge from Nate pushed over the beachfront highway of U.S. 90 onto the peninsula that makes up the city's eastern edge. It flooded the parking structure of the Golden Nugget casino, which is closest to the peninsula's tip. Water kept going several blocks deep into the area.

"It kind of surprised us," Mike Kovacevich, who lives two blocks north of U.S. 90, told Biloxi officials on their Facebook page. "We didn't expect to be this deep. It come in pretty good - a lot of water."

The city of Biloxi posted video of the storm surge on Facebook:

U.S. 90 at Beauvoir Road, at storm surge crashes against the seawall. #blxnate

Posted by City of Biloxi on Saturday, October 7, 2017

Pascagoula also reported that storm surge flooded downtown streets in that coastal city.

3:55 a.m.: Nate weakens to a tropical storm

Nate weakened to a tropical storm as it moves inland over Mississippi and Alabama. The U.S. National Hurricane Center says the storm is expected to continue quickly weakening. 

1:55 a.m.: Nate makes second landfall near Biloxi

Hurricane Nate made second landfall near Biloxi, Mississippi as a Category 1 storm, the National Hurricane Center said. The storm has maximum sustained winds of 85 mph.

A hurricane warning is in effect from the mouth of the Pearl River to the Alabama/Florida border.

A turn toward the north-northeast and northeast with an increase in forward speed is expected during the next couple of days, the National Hurricane Center said. On the forecast track, Nate's center will continue to move inland over Mississippi and across the Deep South, Tennessee Valley, and central Appalachian Mountains through Monday.

1:44 a.m.: More than 17,000 without power in Mississippi

As of 1 a.m. ET Sunday, roughly 17,000 customers from multiple utility companies are without power, CBS affiliate WLOX reports.

12:30 a.m.: Nearly 3,500 power outages reported in Mississippi

Nearly 3,500 people from multiple utility companies were without power as of 11 p.m., reported CBS Biloxi affiliate WLOX.

The storm is expected to make second landfall near Biloxi. As of 11 p.m., the National Hurricane Center said Nate was about 35 miles (56 kilometers) south of Biloxi. After that, the center of the storm will move across the Deep South, Tennessee Valley and central Appalachian Mountains through Monday.

11:54 p.m.: Nate's northern eyewall moving onto Mississippi shore

Nate's northern eyewall, the most dangerous part of the storm, is moving onshore on the Mississippi coast, said the National Hurricane Center.

Hurricane conditions are spreading on the coasts in Mississippi and Alabama, the National Hurricane Cetner said. Life-threatening storm surge is expected from the mouth of the Mississippi River to the Okaloosa/Walton county line in Florida.

9:36 p.m.: New Orleans mayor lifts curfew

New Orleans mayor Mitch Landrieu lifted the city's curfew after the National Weather Service lifted the hurricane warning for the city.

Landrieu's office recommended that people continue to shelter in place. 

CBS News' weather producer David Parkinson reported New Orleans will get the weaker end of the storm, but the city could still face wind gusts as high as 55 mph, Parkinson said. 

9:22 p.m.: Storm surge could reach 11 feet in some areas

Hurricane Nate made its first landfall on the Louisiana coast and is expected to make landfall around midnight on the Mississippi coast, CBS News weather producer David Parkinson reports.

Storm surge will be a real threat from Pensacola Beach through Dauphin Island and along the entire Mississippi Gulf Coast. Surge of 7 to 11 feet is expected from Waveland, Mississippi to the state's border with Alabama, and surge of 6 to 9 feet is expected in Mobile Bay.  

In terms of New Orleans, while it is possible power goes out, the city is on the weaker side of the storm so even if they get 3 inches of rain, there shouldn't be widespread flooding. Major surge isn't expected there as they are protected by a levee. Four to seven feet of surge is possible on the north end of Lake Pontchartrain. The impact zone for this storm is Mississippi Gulf Coast, Alabama Gulf Coast and western Florida panhandle Gulf Coast. 

Wind from the storm is expected to be 90 mph, with some wind gusts up to 100 mph. The primary threat from the storm is storm surge, Parkinson reports.  

8:05 p.m.: Nate makes landfall near the mouth of Mississippi River

Hurricane Nate made landfall near the mouth of the Mississippi River as a Category 1 storm with winds of 85 mph, the National Hurricane Center said.

As of 8 p.m., the storm is located about 100 miles south of Biloxi, Mississippi. 

The National Hurricane Center said Saturday night that Nate is expected to make a second landfall along the coast of Mississippi on Saturday night and then pass over parts of Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee.

7:00 p.m.: Delta announces flight cancellations

Delta has canceled four flights to two cities in Alabama and the Florida Panhandle ahead of Hurricane Nate, the company said in a statement Saturday. It said an additional six flights were cancelled for Sunday.

Delta said it extended its "severe weather waiver" to 12 cities along the Gulf Coast and inland in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida. "The waiver allows customers to make one-time changes to their itinerary without incurring a fee. Customers are encouraged to check real-time flight status on or via the Fly Delta Mobile App," it said.

6:32 p.m.: Florida governor requests emergency order from Trump

Florida Gov. Rick Scott on Saturday evening called on President Trump to declare a "pre-landfall emergency" for his state in response to Hurricane Nate. In a statement, Scott said the declaration would "make federal resources readily available as Northwest Florida prepares and responds to Hurricane Nate."

Scott urged Florida residents to prepare for the "powerful storm" and said its effects "will be felt across the Florida Panhandle."

"We must not let our guard down," he said.

Scott said an early declaration would "free up funding sources" from the federal government for the emergency response.

"We will continue to work with state, local and federal partners to ensure that every Floridian in the storm's path is prepared and we are able to quickly respond to Hurricane Nate," Scott said.

6:18 p.m.: Nate heads to mouth of Mississippi

The National Hurricane Center in Miami says Hurricane Nate is about 50 miles south of the mouth of the Mississippi River at Louisiana's southeastern tip. The storm is moving north-northwest toward the Gulf Coast at an unusually fast 23 mph.

With maximum sustained winds of 90 mph, Nate had not gained strength as of the center's latest advisory. But forecasters said it might still reach Category 2 strength of 96 mph or more by the time it makes landfall.

Nate was on a track that could take it over or near the mouth of the Mississippi by around 7 p.m. local time on its way to a later landfall on the Louisiana or Mississippi coast.

6:15 p.m.: Evacuation orders across Louisiana

CBS affiliate WWL-TV compiled a list of evacuation orders across Louisiana. Some of the mandatory evacuation orders issued are low lying areas in Hancock County and Orleans Parish's Venetian Isles, Lake Catherine and Irish Bayou. Some voluntary orders in Jefferson Parish include Pleasure Bend, Barataria and Crown Point.

4:00 p.m.: Alabama, Mississippi begin to see the storm's impact

Officials in Alabama and Mississippi say their states are starting to see impacts from the fast-approaching Hurricane Nate.

On Alabama's Dauphin Island, Mayor Jeff Collier reports water had already begun washing over the road on the island's low-lying west end.

The city of Gulf Shores, meanwhile, has issued an evacuation order for beachfront properties, and shelters have been opened along the state's coastal counties.

In Mississippi, state Emergency Management Director Lee Smithson said 67 people were already in shelters in two coastal counties while strong winds and high tides were driving Gulf of Mexico waters over roads near the Louisiana state line.

And Gov. Phil Bryant says the state's National Guard has mobilized 75 soldiers and the Highway Patrol has moved an additional 60 state troopers into south Mississippi.

3:50 p.m.: Airports close in Florida, Alabama

Airports in some southern states are closing in anticipation of Hurricane Nate.

The Pensacola International Airport in Florida and the Mobile Regional Airport in Alabama say they are closing Saturday before the storm makes landfall.

The Florida airport said it will close by 6 p.m. local time, remain closed through Sunday and hopefully resume operations Monday morning.

Officials at the Alabama airport said they hope to reopen Sunday around noon.

Officials at the airports say passengers should contact their airlines for information about rebooking flights.

In Mississippi, the Air Force Reserve's 403rd Wing relocated aircrafts to Ellington Field, Texas, and Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, as the storm approached the coast.

"We are moving aircraft as a precautionary measure ahead of Tropical Storm Nate, and so we can continue the mission," Col. Jennie R. Johnson said in a statement. "At this time, Keesler Air Force Base has not mandated the evacuation of base personnel."

3:45 p.m.: Oil and gas-producing platforms evacuated

More than 40 percent of manned oil- and gas-producing platforms in the Gulf of Mexico have been evacuated, according to an update from the Interior Department.

The department said Saturday that workers were evacuated from 312 of the 737 manned platforms in the Gulf.

Crews also have been taken off 13 of 20 manned drilling rigs and other rigs have been moved out of the storm's path.

About one-fifth of U.S. oil is produced in the Gulf. The platforms mostly avoided Hurricane Harvey in late August.

2:15 p.m.: Governors tell residents to make final preparations

Governors in Louisiana and Florida are urging residents to make final preparations for Hurricane Nate's arrival.

In Louisiana, Gov. John Bel Edwards said Saturday that people in the southeastern part of the state should hunker down by 3 p.m. local time.

He says the storm's eye is expected to make landfall about four hours later, likely bringing limited rain but powerful storm surges and strong winds.

The state National Guard, meanwhile, has mobilized 1,300 troops and positioned high-water vehicles, boats and even school buses from Baton Rouge to New Orleans to help with rescues.

Edwards said he also spoke with President Trump Saturday morning, who assured him the federal government was prepared to respond as well.

In Florida, Gov. Rick Scott said the roughly 100,000 residents in evacuation zones should heed warnings, stick to their emergency plan and stay vigilant for updates from local officials.

He said the hurricane could bring not just storm surges and strong winds to the Panhandle, but also tornadoes.

2:00 p.m.: Oil and glas platforms shut down

Some oil and gas platforms in the Gulf of Mexico are being shut down as Hurricane Nate churns toward the U.S. mainland.

Federal officials said Friday that workers were evacuated from 66 oil- and gas-producing platforms in the Gulf, about 9 percent of the total of manned facilities.

The Interior Department says crews also have been taken off five drilling rigs and other rigs have been moved out of the storm's path.
About one-fifth of U.S. oil is produced in the Gulf. The platforms mostly avoided Hurricane Harvey in late August.

1:10 p.m.: Louisiana cuts early voting short for hurricane

Early voting is wrapping up sooner than scheduled in parts of Louisiana because of Hurricane Nate.

Meg Casper Sunstrom, spokeswoman for the secretary of state's office, said voters in some southeastern parishes will have until 3 p.m. on Saturday to cast their ballots early. The parishes affected are in the New Orleans-area, including Orleans, St. Bernard, Plaquemines and St. Tammany parishes.

Early voting will close as scheduled at 6 p.m. local time in the state's other parishes.

Saturday is the last day of the week-long early voting period. Louisiana has a statewide election Oct. 14, and New Orleans has a hotly contested mayor's race on the ballot.

12:30 p.m.: Alabama under tropical storm warning

The National Weather Service is placing much of Alabama under a tropical storm warning.

Forecasters said Saturday that Hurricane Nate could bring wind gusts of up to 60 mph across much of the central part of the state, which includes Birmingham, the state's largest city.

The storm is expected to down trees and cause significant power outages. Isolated tornadoes were also possible Sunday afternoon.

On Alabama's Gulf coast, some communities have already imposed mandatory curfews from Saturday evening through Sunday morning. They've also ordered beaches and fishing piers closed and issued voluntary evacuation orders.

On Florida's Panhandle, officials have ordered evacuations in some low-lying areas. They're also warning beachgoers to stay out of the Gulf of Mexico as the storm is already whipping up deadly rip currents and rough surf.

12:22 p.m.: New Orleans prepares for Nate's storm surge

CBS News correspondent Michelle Miller is in New Orleans and reports that a mandatory curfew goes into effect at 7 p.m. local time Saturday. Mayor Mitch Landrieu issued mandatory evacuation orders for areas outside of the city's storm protection system.

City officials closed off about 200 floodgates on Friday night, ahead of a storm surge that could be as high as 10 feet, Michelle reports.

Water is already spilling onto streets in the city's Venetian Isles neighborhood from an unusually high tide. Residents had until noon Saturday to leave.

"Can't call anybody, not coming, so it is a good idea to leave for most people," one resident told Miller.

Others have already left their homes. The first evacuees began arriving at one shelter in Plaquemines Parish. About 20 were there by late Friday night with more expected to come.

"They take very good care of us opening these centers so we can have a place to go, and I appreciate that," East Bank resident Betty Duplessis told Miller.