BILOXI, Miss. — Hurricane Nate has been downgraded to a tropical storm and continues to move quickly to the north/northwest after making landfall in Mississippi early Sunday morning.
Although it’s not as powerful as Harvey, Irma, or Maria were when they made landfall in the U.S. and U.S. territories, it is still powerful enough to cause major damage in parts of the Gulf Coast tonight.
Nate still has maximum sustained winds of 90 mph, which is near the top of category 1 on the Saffir-Simpson Scale (at 96 mph, it would be a category 2 hurricane). However, gusts were measured as high as 115 mph during the National Hurricane Center’s 5:00 PM update. It’s moving north/northwest at 23 mph and is currently located 50 miles south of the mouth of the Mississippi River, or 140 miles south of Biloxi, MS.
Nate made landfall near Biloxi, MS, over rural, swampy areas near the mouth of the Mississippi River before going back over water and aiming at the more populated areas of the Gulf Coast.
The main concerns with Nate are high winds and storm surge. Storm surges as high as 11 feet are possible near the Mississippi/Alabama border. Heavy rainfall is also a threat, but because Nate is moving so quickly rainfall totals of over 6″ are pretty unlikely.
The right hand side of Nate will be the most powerful where we’ll be combining the strongest winds near the center with the forward speed of the hurricane. So places like Biloxi & Pascagoula MS, along with Mobile, AL stand to see the highest winds and storm surge. New Orleans will still be impacted by Nate, but since it’ll be on the left side of the storm as it makes landfall, storm surge and winds won’t be quite as big of an issue.