The US National Hurricane Center (NHC) says Hurricane Nate has made landfall near the mouth of the Mississippi River in Louisiana. Hurricane Nate, with maximum sustained winds of 85mph (137km/h), is moving north, and a second landfall is expected on the Mississippi coast later.
Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and parts of Florida have issued hurricane warnings and evacuation orders.
Nate killed at least 25 people in Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Honduras.
The tropical storm has since strengthened and is now a category one hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale.
Although not as strong as last month’s Maria and Irma, Nate is expected to bring strong winds and storm surges.
US President Donald Trump earlier issued an emergency declaration for Louisiana, allowing the state to seek federal help with preparation and possible relief efforts.
In Alabama, Republican Governor Kay Ivey has urged residents in areas facing heavy winds and storm surges to take precautions.
Five ports along the Gulf Coast have also been closed to shipping as a precaution.
Most oil and gas platforms in the US Gulf of Mexico have evacuated their staff and stopped production ahead of the storm.
The hurricane warning issued to parts of the Gulf Coast includes the threat of life-threatening storm surge flooding. Evacuation orders have been put in place for some low-lying areas.
Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards has declared a state of emergency ahead of the hurricane.
He said more than 1,000 National Guard troops had been mobilised with a number sent to New Orleans to monitor the drainage pumps there. “Anyone in low-lying areas… we are urging them to prepare now,” he said.
A mandatory curfew from 18:00 (23:00 GMT) is in place in New Orleans, where residents from areas outside the city’s levee system have been evacuated.
“Nate is at our doorstep, or will be soon,” the city’s Mayor Mitch Landrieu said, adding that the winds could cause significant power outages. We have been through this many, many times, there is no need to panic,” he added.
A tropical storm warning is currently in effect for New Orleans.
Nate went past Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula – home to the popular beach resorts of Cancun and Playa del Carmen – on Friday night as it headed north, the NHC said.
Nate caused heavy rains, landslides and floods which blocked roads, destroyed bridges and damaged houses as it tore through central America.
At least 13 people died in Nicaragua, eight in Costa Rica, three in Honduras and one in El Salvador.
The tail of the storm is still causing problems in the region, where thousands have been forced to sleep in shelters and some 400,000 people in Costa Rica were reported to be without running water.
Tropical Storm Nate kills At Least 22 As It Heads For U.S. Gulf Coast
The National Hurricane Center (NHC) has issued a hurricane warning on the Gulf Coast from Grand Isle, Louisiana, to the Alabama-Florida border. Four states along the northern Gulf Coast have declared states of emergency as Tropical Storm Nate nears hurricane status in time for landfall this weekend. Mandatory evacuations are ordered in New Orleans for residents living outside the levee system.
Here are the key messages for Tropical Storm #Nate as of 4:00pm CDT.
A Hurricane Warning has been issued for metropolitan New Orleans — NHC Atlantic Ops (@NHC_Atlantic)
The National Weather Service (NWS) forecasts Tropical Storm Nate will move into the Gulf Coast and strengthen into a Category 1 hurricane on Saturday night.
The center of the storm moved over eastern Honduras on Thursday and has been blamed for at least 22 deaths across Central America so far. The NHC records Nate with sustained winds of 60 miles per hour as it passed near the Yucatan Peninsula on Friday at 9:00pm GMT.
Tropical Storm Nate is expected to become a hurricane by the time it reaches the northern Gulf of Mexico in the next couple of days.
The storm is expected to bring heavy rainfall of three to six inches along the northern Gulf Coast and into the eastern Tennessee Valley and southern Appalachians through the weekend, resulting in the possibility of flash flooding in those areas.
Bracing for the storm, governors across the Southeast have declared states of emergency. Florida Governor Rick Scott (R) declared a state of emergency in 29 counties, and 7,000 members of the National Guard have been made available for deployment.
#Florida under state of emergency as deadly Tropical Storm Nate rolls in — RT America (@RT_America)
Alabama Governor Kay Ivey (R) issued a general state of emergency Thursday, advising residents to restock their emergency kits and make an evacuation plan.
Governor Phil Bryant (R) declared a Mississippi state of emergency and signed an Executive Order authorizing the use of the National Guard on Friday.
Governor John Edwards (D) declared a Louisiana state of emergency on Thursday.
New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu held a press conference Friday, where he announced a mandatory evacuation order for residents living outside the levee system, including the Venetian Isles, Lake Catherine and Irish Bayou. Residents were ordered to evacuate by 12:00pm (local time) on Saturday. The city’s floodgates will be closed after that time.
Landrieu said that a storm surge, potentially in excess of 6-9 feet, “is a primary threat from Nate in areas outside the levees.”
He advised residents to prepare for power outages and encouraged them to have backup supplies.
Landrieu also issued a mandatory citywide curfew from Saturday at 6:00pm local time and extending into Sunday morning.
New Orleans suffered catastrophic losses in 2005 when Hurricane Katrina hit the city in 2005, The storm was responsible for 1,833 deaths and approximately $108 billion in damage, according to the NWS.
The 2017 Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30, as the continental US and its territories
Tropical Storm Nate: Florida Governor Declares State of Emergency
Southport, Florida: Today, Governor Rick Scott issued Executive Order 17-262 declaring a state of emergency in 29 counties within the State of Florida in response to Tropical Storm Nate. The counties under the state of emergency are Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, Walton, Holmes, Washington, Bay, Jackson, Calhoun, Gulf, Gadsden, Liberty, Franklin, Leon, Wakulla, Jefferson, Madison, Taylor, Hamilton, Suwannee, Lafayette, Dixie, Columbia, Gilchrist, Levy, Baker, Union, Bradford, and Alachua counties. Governor Scott is ensuring that local governments have ample time, resources and flexibility to get prepared for this storm and are not hindered, delayed or prevented from taking all necessary actions to keep communities safe.
Governor Scott said, “Tropical Storm Nate is headed north toward our state and Florida must be prepared. I have continued to be briefed by the Florida Division of Emergency Management on Tropical Storm Nate and while current forecast models have the storm’s center west of Florida, we must be vigilant and get prepared. Today, given these forecasts, I have declared a state of emergency for 29 counties in Florida to make certain that state, federal and local governments are able to work together and ensure resources are dispersed to local communities. By declaring an emergency in these counties, we can also ensure that there is no hindrance in the transportation of supplies and assets. I urge all Floridians to remain vigilant and stay alert to local weather and news and visit FLGetAPlan.com today as we all prepare for Tropical Storm Nate. We will keep monitoring and issuing updates on Tropical Storm Nate as it approaches the Gulf Coast.”
See below for more information on what the State of Florida is doing to support Tropical Storm Nate preparedness efforts:
EMERGENCY SUPPORT FUNCTIONS BY STATE EMERGENCY RESPONSE TEAM
The Florida National Guard has 7,000 guard members available for deployment if needed.
The Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) continues to monitor traffic and is coordinating with FDOT and local emergency operations centers regarding any potential evacuations.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is monitoring the storm and ready to respond as needed.
TRANSPORTATION & PUBLIC WORKS
The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) is monitoring the storm and holding teleconferences with the regional FDOT district offices to ensure local communities are prepared.
FDOT district offices are reaching out to construction vendors to have them remove any materials that block roads to facilitate potential evacuations and checking on fuel supplies. FDOT is also actively monitoring for roadway flooding in areas already impacted by Hurricane Irma and stands ready to respond as needed.
Gov. Scott Declares State of Emergency to Prepare Florida for Tropical Storm Nate
FDOT asset maintenance contractors have been contacted to support potential activities.
FDOT will continue to reach out to county emergency operations centers directly to coordinate any necessary response actions including activating traffic counters, providing local evacuation support and providing maintenance of traffic and other assistance.
Florida’s seaports are monitoring conditions.
POWER AND UTILITIES
The state has contacted utilities to put them on notice to start reporting outage and restoration information if needed.
Utilities are contacting their mutual aid partners to determine availability if external resources are needed to restore services.
The state is contacting fuel industry partners, such as the Florida Petroleum Council, Florida Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association, to prepare for potential storm impacts. At this time, there are no reported supply, distribution or retail fuel shortages or issues.
The state has also contacted emergency fuel and equipment provider for status of emergency fuel supply and equipment.
The state is preparing to support potential sheltering operations in the Florida Panhandle.
More information on shelters will be made available as decisions on potential evacuations are made.
PUBLIC HEALTH AND MEDICAL
The Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) and the Florida Department of Health (DOH) will join Governor Scott on tropical storm preparedness calls with Florida hospitals, assisted living facilities and nursing homes later today.
DOH is standing by to assist with potential needs of healthcare facilities and special needs shelters.
WATER MANAGEMENT DISTRICTS
Water Management Districts are monitoring waterways and are prepared to adjust flows as necessary.
Lake Okeechobee is currently at 16.67 feet and is being continuously monitored by the United States Army Corps of Engineers, which manages Lake Okeechobee water levels. The Army Corps will continue releases from Lake Okeechobee until further notice.
The State Assistance Information Line (SAIL) contact number is 1-800-342-3557.
The State Emergency Operations Center Media Line: 850-921-0217.
Follow @FLSert or @FLGovScott on Twitter for live updates on Tropical Storm Nate.
Visit http://www.floridadisaster.org to find information on shelters, road closures, and evacuation routes.