Flooding as storm Nate pummels Louisiana and Mississippi


Flooding as storm Nate pummels Louisiana and Mississippi

Storm Nate has brought strong winds, torrential rain and some flooding to the US Gulf Coast.

It made landfall as a category one hurricane near the mouth of the Mississippi River in Louisiana, late on Saturday, with maximum sustained winds of 85mph (137km/h).

After making landfall a second time in Biloxi, Mississippi, it was downgraded to a tropical storm.

But weather officials warn the threat of dangerous storm surges remain.

Nate killed at least 25 people in Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Honduras.

The tropical storm then strengthened to a category one hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale as it headed swiftly towards the US.

Although not as strong as last month's Maria and Irma, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and parts of Florida had issued warnings and evacuation orders ahead of its arrival.

Chett Harrison, the manager of the Golden Nugget Hotel and Casino in Biloxi, said he had kept a restaurant and bar open for his 300 guests and "they have been OK so far".

But he told local TV he hoped none of his guests tried to leave "because everything is flooded around us".

Mayor of nearby Gulfport, Billy Hewes, told the BBC the storm surge did not appear to be as high as feared and he thought the damage there would "be minimal".

But the head of emergency management in Mississippi warned of worsening conditions as Nate moved further inland.

In southern Alabama, the local power company said some 5,000 people were without power. Residents there had been urged to take precautions ahead of Nate's arrival.

A mandatory curfew was lifted in New Orleans as the threat to the city - devastated by Hurricane Katrina in 2005 - was downgraded.

However, New Orleans residents were urged to stay in shelters by the mayor who said "there is still a serious threat for areas outside of levee protection".

Nate was downgraded from a hurricane to a tropical storm by the National Hurricane Center at 09:00 GMT.

But its advisory warned of a life-threatening storm surge flooding and said alerts remained in effect from Pointe a la Hache to the Okaloosa/Walton county line in Florida.

Five ports along the Gulf Coast were also closed to shipping as a precaution ahead of Nate's arrival. Most oil and gas platforms in the US Gulf of Mexico also evacuated their staff.

Evacuation orders were put in place for some low-lying areas.

US President Donald Trump on Saturday issued an emergency declaration for Louisiana and Mississippi, allowing the state to seek federal help with preparation and possible relief efforts.

Full story: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-41541002

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