Tropical Storm Nate strengthens, could hit United States over weekend

Tropical Storm Nate strengthens, could hit United States over weekend

Tropical-storm-force wind gusts were expected to continue over the Florida Panhandle and parts of Alabama and Georgia through Sunday afternoon.

At 8 a.m. Sunday, the National Hurricane Center said the storm was rapidly weakening, and packed peak winds of 45 mph, down from 85 mph just seven hour earlier.

On Saturday states of emergency were declared in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, as well as in more than two dozen Florida counties.

Lawrence Carriere checks on the home of his neighbor after a tree fell on it and crashed through the roof, in Biloxi, Miss.

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Mississippi Emergency Management Director Lee Smithson warned that Nate would be "the worst hurricane that has impacted Mississippi since Hurricane Katrina".

New Orleans, which lay on the typically impact-lessened western side of the hurricane, caught little more than a whiff from Nate.

It is expected to enter the Gulf of Mexico early Saturday morning and make landfall in the USA on Sunday.

While the storm is not as strong as both Irma as well as Maria, evacuations had been ordered for areas of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and parts of before Nate's arrival.

But the National Weather Service on Saturday evening cancelled the city's hurricane warning and Mayor Mitch Landrieu ordered an overnight curfew be lifted.

By 7 a.m. Sunday, the Hurricane Center had ended the tropical storm and surge warnings for Southeast Louisiana and South Mississippi, essentially giving the New Orleans area the all clear.

A volunteer firefighter clearing debris after storms associated with Tropical Storm Nate died when he was hit by a auto in western North Carolina. According to the NWS, storm surge and the tide will cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded and move inland. On Dauphin Island near Mobile, authorities said late Saturday that over 4 feet of water and debris was covering a road and power lines were down.

A rise to almost five feet was observed in Shell Beach, Louisiana, which is southeast of New Orleans.

Hurricane Nate had shut in 92 percent of oil output and 77 percent of natural gas production in the U.S.

Roughly 100,000 homes across the Gulf lost power. Sixteen people were reported dead in Nicaragua, 10 deaths were reported in Costa Rica and one death was reported in Honduras, officials said.

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