Hurricane Nate makes landfall on US Gulf Coast

A costa Rican resident picks his way through the destruction of Hurricane Nate now directing its fury at the US Gulf Coast. EPA  Jeffrey Arguedas

A costa Rican resident picks his way through the destruction of Hurricane Nate now directing its fury at the US Gulf Coast. EPA Jeffrey Arguedas

In Louisiana, fears that Nate would overwhelm the fragile pumping system of the city of New Orleans proved unfounded.

A resident fills sand bags as he prepares for Hurricane Nate in New Orleans Saturday.

Nate was forecast to make its second landfall near Biloxi, Mississippi, and threatened to inundate homes and businesses.

The storm was about 60 miles (95 km) east of New Orleans with maximum sustained winds of 85 miles per hour (140 km per hour), the center said.

Nate's powerful winds have knocked out power to more than 100,000 customers in MS and Alabama, but did not have the intensity other storms - Harvey, Irma and Jose - had during this busy hurricane season. It could hit the U.S. Gulf coast near New Orleans.

The storm had maximum sustained winds of 60 miles per hour (95 kph) by Friday afternoon and was likely to strengthen over the northwestern Caribbean Sea on Friday before brushing by the Cancun region at the tip of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula.

"We're not anxious about it", said Hunt, as he and Ulloa organized jerry cans of gasoline to power a generator that will keep their fridges and an air conditioner running through the storm.

As the storm weakened and floodwaters receded, the mayor of the MS town Gulfport, Billy Hewes, told the BBC that the damage was not as bad as he had feared.

Nate is moving inland with heavy rains and gusty winds after socking the central Gulf Coast.

Residents are stocking up before the storm and others in high-risk areas are being told to leave.

Major shipping ports across the central U.S. Gulf Coast were closed to inbound and outbound traffic on Saturday, as Nate intensified and storm surges of up to 11 feet were expected at the mouth of the Mississippi River.

Workers had been evacuated from 301 platforms and 13 rigs as of Saturday, the U.S. Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement said.

Nate will turn toward the north-northwest and then northeast with an increase in forward speed during the next couple of days, the center said. The agency estimated less than 15 percent of the current oil production in the Gulf of Mexico has been shut-in, which equates to 254,607 barrels of oil per day.

Nate has already claimed at least 12 lives in Nicaragua, nine in Costa Rica, and two each in El Salvador and Honduras.

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