NEW ORLEANS — Hurricane Nate came ashore along Mississippi’s coast outside Biloxi early Sunday, the first hurricane to make landfall in the state since Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
The storm had maximum sustained winds early Sunday near 85 mph with weakening expected as it moves inland, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said. As of 2 a.m. EDT, Nate was centered about 5 miles north of Biloxi and moving north near at 20 mph.
At one point, Nate’s eye move over Keesler Air Force Base, where the National Hurricane Center’s hurricane hunter planes are kept, the center said.
It was Nate’s second landfall. Saturday night, the storm came ashore along a sparsely populated area in southeast Louisiana.
Nate brought stinging rain to the Gulf Coast and its powerful winds pushed water onto roads. No deaths or injuries were immediately reported.
Nate’s powerful winds pushed water onto roads and its winds knocked out power to homes and business. But Nate didn’t have the intensity other storms — Harvey, Irma and Jose — had during this busy hurricane season, and people didn’t seem as threatened by it.
“We left for Katrina, but we’re going to ride this one out,” Ed Nodhturft said from his Ocean Springs home.
He was hosting an impromptu family reunion after several relatives who were staying at the Beau Rivage Resort and Casino in Biloxi were forced to leave the hotel and seek shelter at his home.
During Katrina, Nodhturft’s home took on 5 feet of water from a coastal bayou. He’s in a new house, and a little worried about flooding in the low-lying area where he lives.
Hurricane Katrina made its final landfall on the Mississippi coast on Aug. 29, 2005, leveling many cities and buckling bridges. Casino barges were pushed into homes.
John Adams is a Massachusetts native who now lives on Belle Fontaine Beach, a narrow strip of land between the Mississippi Sound and a coastal marsh. Every house on the spit was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina.
“This is my first hurricane,” Adams said hours before the storm made landfall. “So far, it’s kind of a fizzle.”
Katrina was the last hurricane that made a landfall on the Mississippi coast, although both Hurricane Gustav in 2008 and Hurricane Isaac in 2012 affected parts of the coast.
Nate passed to the east of New Orleans, sparing the city its most ferocious winds and storm surge. Its quick speed lessened the likelihood of prolonged rain that would tax the city’s weakened drainage pump system. The city famous for all-night partying was placed under a curfew, effective at 7 p.m., but the mayor lifted it about an hour after it had begun when it appeared the storm would pass by and cause little problem for the city.
Still, the streets were not nearly as crowded as they typically are on a Saturday night and Mayor Mitch Landrieu asked people to shelter in place.
Some bars were closed in the French Quarter but music blasted from others.
“I don’t think it’s going to be that bad, as far as a hurricane,” said Michael Dennis of Atlanta.
Cities along the Mississippi coast such as Gulfport and Biloxi were on high alert. Some beachfront hotels and casinos were evacuated, and rain began falling on the region Saturday. Forecasters called for 3 to 6 inches with as much as 10 inches in some isolated places.