Hurricane Nate Makes Landfall on the Gulf Coast
Even though Nate had not strengthened beyond a Category 1 storm by late Saturday night, it still had an emotional toll here in Mississippi, where a hurricane has not made landfall since 2005, when 6,000 of the city’s 25,000 structures were destroyed.
“I was a little bit more nervous about this one because we haven’t had a hurricane since Katrina,” said Ms. Moran’s 26-year-old daughter, Destiny, an employee of the casino. “It’s like PTSD.”
In New Orleans, where Katrina exacted a horrendous toll when its waters overwhelmed the flawed levee system and left the city underwater for weeks, officials began to sound a note of cautious optimism by early Saturday evening, even as they acknowledged that circumstances could change. Officials lifted the city’s short-lived curfew around 9:30 p.m.
“This is the Goldilocks of storms,” Col. Michael Clancy, the commander of the New Orleans District for the Army Corps of Engineers, said. “Big enough to bring us in here on a Saturday night, not big enough to cause a lot of damage.”
The strength of the city’s improved hurricane defense system, he predicted, “is going to make this a minimal event, at least behind the levee.”
After amassing power in the Gulf, Hurricane Nate raced toward land and was lashing coastal cities with rain by late afternoon. Some areas were expected to receive 4 to 6 inches of rainfall as the storm passed through, although forecasters said that a “life threatening” storm surge — an abnormal rise in water levels of up to several feet — and wind were likely to cause the biggest problems.
Gov. John Bel Edwards of Louisiana said on Saturday afternoon that Nate was moving at “an extremely fast rate” of 26 miles an hour, which he said was “almost unheard-of for a storm of this type.”