By: Patrick Koster
While reparations estimated over $154 billion are being made to areas affected by Hurricanes Irma and Maria, a new hurricane has quickly hit the northern Gulf Coast.
Hurricane Nate made landfall Saturday night near Biloxi, Miss. as a Category 1 hurricane, according to The Weather Channel. Sustained winds appeared to be at 90 mph, with hurricane-force winds extending 35 miles and tropical storm-force winds reaching up to 125 miles from the center.
The Weather Channel showed tropical alerts for southeast Louisiana, most of Alabama, northwestern Florida and Georgia, and southeastern Mississippi before landfall. A life-threatening storm surge was expected in these areas, along with heavy rains up to the Appalachian Mountain region and possibly parts of the Northeast.
The storm was expected to penetrate the Gulf Coast and move up the northeastern U.S. through Tuesday. Potential coastal flooding was a possibility during initial landfall.
On Saturday night, wind speeds were expected to reach up to 105 mph, according to a Weather Channel graphic. The hurricane was expected to weaken by Sunday night in the Tennessee Valley, lowering winds to about 40 mph. Heavy rains and flash flooding were expected to linger in the Appalachians, parts of the Northeast and eastern Ohio Valley region Monday.
Hurricane Nate is the ninth hurricane to hit the Atlantic region this storm season, making this year the highest season since 2012, which included Hurricane Sandy, The Washington Post reported earlier Saturday.
An Oct. 5 article from Reuters reported at least 30 people killed by Hurricane Nate while making its way through Central America.
While the storm gains speed, some didn’t seem to be incredibly worried about Nate’s possible havoc. The Reuters article cited a statement from New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu said during a news conference, alluding to the severity of 2005’s Hurricane Katrina and the city’s reinforced preparedness for storms:
“We have been through this many, many times. There is no need to panic,” he said.
CNN reported that Landrieu ordered evacuation of some areas and declared a state of emergency. Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant declared a state of emergency for six counties and any other possible affected areas. Boloxi, Miss. is almost directly in the center of the expected landfall. Biloxi Mayor Andrew Gilich was concerned about storm surge:
“The storm surge is a big thing that really traps everyone,” he told CNN.
Multiple reports on Monday confirmed that Hurricane Nate was weakened to Tropical Depression Nate.