Storm Nate weakens but Alabama flood threat remains

08 Oct 2017, 23:22 ( 14 days ago)

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It made landfall as a hurricane twice, in Louisiana and Mississippi, but is now weakening rapidly.Some storm surge warnings have been lifted but weather officials say danger remains in Alabama and western Florida.Nate killed at least 25 people in Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Honduras. No deaths or injuries have yet been reported in the US.Although not as strong as last month's Maria and Irma, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and parts of Florida had issued warnings and evacuation orders ahead of its arrival.Chett Harrison, the manager of the Golden Nugget Hotel and Casino in Biloxi, said he had kept a restaurant and bar open for his 300 guests and "they have been OK so far".But he told local TV he hoped none of his guests tried to leave "because everything is flooded around us".

Mayor of nearby Gulfport, Billy Hewes, told the BBC the storm surge did not appear to be as high as feared and he thought the damage there would "be minimal".Mississippi emergency official Greg Flynn told AP that more than 1,000 people in the state spent the night in shelters but no major damage had been reported.In southern Alabama, the local power company said some 5,000 people were without power. Residents there had been urged to take precautions ahead of Nate's arrival.A mandatory curfew was lifted in New Orleans, Louisiana, as the threat to the city - devastated by Hurricane Katrina in 2005 - was downgraded. Five ports along the Gulf Coast were also closed to shipping as a precaution ahead of Nate's arrival. Most oil and gas platforms in the US Gulf of Mexico also evacuated their staff.

US President Donald Trump on Saturday issued an emergency declaration for Louisiana and Mississippi, allowing the state to seek federal help with preparation and possible relief efforts. 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. UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, visiting Antigua and Barbuda which were badly damaged by Hurricane Irma in September, said the international community needed to do more to help Caribbean countries hit by a series of powerful hurricanes.