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Hurricane Nate tracking to Mississippi Coast: Gulfport, Biloxi, Pass Christian at risk

Hurricane Nate is expected to make a direct hit on the Mississippi coast as a Category 1 storm early Sunday morning, according to the latest forecast update from the National Hurricane Center.

Nate will likely make landfall somewhere between Bay St. Louis and Gulfport in the early morning hours Sunday (late Saturday night), with winds up to 90 miles per hour.

Gulfport, Biloxi and Pass Christian are under a storm surge warning, according to the National Weather Service and the storm surge could be from 5 to 9 feet. Also, the wind speed forecast has increased overnight, as Nate has strengthened.

NWS: “LATEST LOCAL FORECAST: EQUIVALENT CAT 1 HURRICANE FORCE WIND – PEAK WIND FORECAST: 55-75 MPH WITH GUSTS TO 95 MPH – WINDOW FOR TROPICAL STORM FORCE WINDS: EARLY THIS EVENING UNTIL SUNDAY AFTERNOON – WINDOW FOR HURRICANE FORCE WINDS: EARLY THIS EVENING UNTIL EARLY SUNDAY MORNING – CURRENT THREAT TO LIFE AND PROPERTY: HIGH – THE WIND THREAT HAS INCREASED FROM THE PREVIOUS ASSESSMENT.”

The latest Nate forecast track and intensity from the National Hurricane Center suggests Nate will strike the Mississippi Coast after a brief brush with Louisiana’s outer lands as a Category 1 storm, with winds near 90 miles per hour.

Nate is moving fast so it is not expected to be another Katrina but it will strike at around 1 a.m. or 2 a.m. Sunday with 90 mile per hour winds and a surge of up to 9 feet in some locations, possibly — making it a storm to be reckoned with in Mississippi.

From the Associated Press latest updates:

“Hurricane Nate gained force as it continues rapidly moving over the central Gulf of Mexico early Saturday after drenching Central America in rain that was blamed for at least 21 deaths. Forecasters said it was likely to reach the U.S. Gulf Coast over the weekend.

Louisiana and Mississippi officials declared states of state of emergency and Louisiana ordered some people to evacuate coastal areas and barrier islands ahead of its expected landfall Saturday night or early Sunday. Evacuations began at some offshore oil platforms in the Gulf.

Mississippi’s government said it would open 11 evacuation shelters in areas away from the immediate coast, with buses available for people who can’t drive.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center warned that Nate could raise sea levels by 4 to 7 feet (1.2 to 2.1 meters) from Morgan City, Louisiana, to the Alabama-Florida border. It had already had caused deadly flooding in much of Central America.”

Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant declared a state of emergency in six southernmost counties. State officials, at a briefing Friday in Gulfport, warned that Nate’s main danger in that state will be from up to 10 feet (3 meters) of storm surge in low-lying coastal areas, as well as from winds that could damage mobile homes.

“If you are in an area that has flooded, I would recommend you evacuate that area until the storm has ended and the water has receded for your own personal safety and for the safety of the first responders that will be responding in the event you are trapped,” Bryant said.

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