Hurricane Nate strikes USA southern coast


Hurricane Nate, a category 1, is expected to move quickly through the region and pour rain over the south as it moves northward Sunday into Monday.

Concerns about the Category 1 hurricane prompted officials in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida to declare states of emergency, order evacuations and issue curfews.

A hurricane warning was in effect for coastal areas from the mouth of Pearl River on the border of Louisiana and MS, east to the Alabama-Florida border, as of Saturday night.

In the northern part of the state, tropical storm warnings have been replaced with wind advisories as the main threat is potential sustained winds between 30 and 35 miles per hour with gusts up to 50 miles per hour.

"You party till you can't party any more in New Orleans", said native New Orleanian Kay Hayes. The hurricane center said the depression was moving toward the north-northeast at almost 24 miles per hour.

Storm surges along the coast are expected at seven to 11 feet, with rain estimated at three to six inches (and some isolated places expecting as much as 10 inches).

In Nicaragua, Nate's arrival followed two weeks of near-constant rain that had left the ground saturated and rivers swollen.

The levee system has been considerably fortified since Katrina, but authorities warn that it has reduced, but not completely eliminated, flooding risks. Costa Rican officials said 15 people were missing as well. At least 11 died, including two women and a man who worked for the Health Ministry who were swept away by a flooded canal in the central municipality of Juigalpa.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott also declared a state of emergency in some counties.

In the end, Nate shifted east and struck near Biloxi as a Category 1 storm, sending surging ocean water into MS coastal towns.

"Once it hits land, it looks like it's going to be very quick to move out of the area and then weaken", CNN meteorologist Jennifer Varian said.

At least 8,000 customers were without power in Mississippi, Mississippi Power reported, while more than a thousand people had arrived at shelters, the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency said. A tropical storm watch is issued when tropical storm conditions are possible in the warned area within 48 hours. A storm surge warning is in effect for Morgan City, Louisiana to the Okaloosa/Walton County line in Florida.

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

. About 100,000 residents of the area have been affected by evacuations. This could bring flash floods in streams and creeks, as well as in areas of poor drainage across the metro area.

The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement estimates it has paused production of about 1.6 million barrels of oil per day in the Gulf of Mexico, or about 92 percent of its typical output.

"No one should take this storm lightly", Edwards said at a news conference Friday.