Damage assessment begins after Hurricane Nate makes landfall in Mississippi
Hurricane Nate made landfall in southeast Louisiana near the mouth of the Mississippi River as a Category 1 hurricane shortly before 7 p.m. Saturday. The Clarion-Ledger is providing ongoing updates throughout the storm event.
Mike Nolde of Minneapolis St. Paul was on the Coast for a casino junket vacation when Nate moved in.
“We’ve been coming down here for four or five years now to the casinos. We love this area. But this was our first storm,” Nolde said.
Nolde said he and his family had been evacuated from the Beau Rivage on the beach to Harrah’s Casino and Hotel.
Nolde said he was shocked by how fast the water rose in the Gulf and over the highway in the early morning hours. He said he was equally surprised how quick it dissipated. He took a walk along the beachfront Sunday morning.
“I’ve never seen a sailboat washed up onto land before,” he said.
Nolde said he was waiting to get word on whether his flight out Sunday was still on.
8 a.m. Sunday update
Around 1,100 people are in Mississippi shelters this morning following Nate's strike Saturday, according to the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency.
MEMA said about 48,000 people were without power, according to Mississippi Power and Electric Power Associations in South Mississippi.
Long stretches of US 90 from east Gulfport to Jackson Country remained impassible Sunday morning but crews with heavy equipment were hard at work clearing the highway.
Business owners along the beach front highway were arriving to assess damages.
One of those was Mark Balius, owner of Snapper's Restaurant on the beach in Biloxi.
Bailius said things could be worse as he assessed damage to a back wall of his ground level storage area.
The restaurant itself, atop tall pilings, appeared relatively undamaged, Bailus said.
As workers shoved a dumpster from US 90 back onto his property, Bailus said he hopes to reopen on Monday.
"But I'm always really optimistic," Bailus said.
"It could have much worse."
Law enforcement from multiple agencies were manning barricades blocking large portions of US 90 which were covered with sand and debris as a curfew remained in effect until 9 a.m.
4 a.m. Sunday update
Authorities and power crews are assessing damage after Hurricane Nate flooded low-lying areas including the beachfront U.S. 90.
The storm made landfall about 12:30 a.m. in eastern Gulfport as a Category 1 hurricane with sustained winds of 85 mph. More than 25,000 had lost power during the storm, including much of Bay St. Louis after a transformer blew, but crews were out working to restore it early Sunday morning as winds died down by about 2 a.m.
Many parts of U.S. 90 were completely under water at the height of the storm surge that reportedly reached 10 feet or more in some areas. Authorities as of early Sunday morning had reported several rescues during the height of the storm surge, but no deaths had been reported.
A curfew remains in effect across the Coast until 9 a.m. Sunday.
12:10 a.m. Sunday update
Hurricane Nate made landfall on the Mississippi Gulf Coast between Gulfport and Biloxi. It was the second landfall, the first coming just before 7 p.m. near the mouth of the Mississippi River in southeast Louisiana.
Storm surges of up to 9 feet are expected, with surges as high as 6 feet already reported. Authorities are anticipating inland flooding of residential areas.
Curfews until at least 7 a.m. remain in place for all three coastal counties.
11:59 p.m. Saturday update
Flooding has intensified along Mississippi's three coastal counties as Hurricane Nate makes its way ashore. U.S. 90, which runs along the coast, is nearly impassible in several areas, including Biloxi. Casinos and other buildings along the coast are taking on massive amounts of water.
Power outages affecting nearly 4,000 people have been reported as of 11:30 p.m.
Nate continues to be a Category 1 hurricane, moving north toward the Mississippi Gulf Coast at approximately 20 mph. Winds in excessive of 65 mph have been reported in areas along the coast.
The National Weather Service in Jackson issued expected wind advisories for other parts of Mississippi. Hattiesburg could see sustained winds up to 45 mph with gusts up to 60 mph. Areas between Laurel and Meridian could experience sustained winds up to 35 mph with gusts up to 50 mph. Areas along a northeasterly track between Magee, Philadelphia and Columbus could see sustained winds up to 25 mph and gusts up to 35 mph. The metro area is not expected to see significant winds from the storm.
10:13 p.m. Saturday update
The National Hurricane Center reported Nate's northern eyewall is moving onshore along the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Nate is currently 35 miles southwest of Biloxi and is expected to make landfall between midnight and 1 a.m., according to the National Weather Center in Mississippi.
WAPT reported wind gusts between 50-60 mph along the Mississippi Gulf Coast.
Nate continues to move north at 20 mph with sustain winds of 85 mph. The Category 1 hurricane remains at the same speed and strength as when it made landfall in Louisiana just before 7 p.m.
9:12 p.m. Saturday update
Hurricane Nate is battering the coast, with flooding already starting in some areas, including Biloxi.
The National Weather Service says Nate is likely to make landfall on the Mississippi Gulf Coast in Harrison County between midnight and 1 a.m. Large storm surges are expected along Harrison and Jackson counties.
“We’re probably looking at a maximum storm surge of water between 10 p.m. and 3 a.m., and probably an 11- or 12-foot storm surge," Harrison County Emergency Management Director Rupert Lacy told the Sun Herald.
Nate continues to move north-northeast at 20 mph with sustained winds of 85 mph.
8:30 p.m. Saturday update
Winds in the Gulfport area are picking up substantially. The area is starting to see strong gusts as first substantial bands hit.
7:30 p.m. Saturday update
Harrison County emergency officials predict highest storm surge will be between 10 p.m. and 3 a.m.
The surge could be as high as 12 feet in some spots. Typically, wave action atop a surge can reach even higher, sometimes half again as high.
7:02 p.m. Saturday update
The National Hurricane Center said Nate officially made landfall near the mouth of the Mississippi River shortly before 7 p.m. Saturday.
MEMA said Nate would likely not be to Mississippi until around midnight.
Nate is currently a Category 1 with sustained winds of 85 mph. It had slowed to 20 mph along its northern path across extreme southeast Louisiana.