Hurricane Nate on Saturday became the fourth hurricane to make landfall in the U.S. in the past two months. Unlike the other mammoth hurricanes, however, this one landed at Category 1.
Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria have caused significant damage in rapid succession since Harvey hit in August, in regions including coastal Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and much of the Caribbean.
According to catastrophe modeling firm AIR Worldwide, Nate came ashore near the mouth of the Mississippi River early Saturday evening, based on data from the National Hurricane Center.
At Category 1 strength, Nate brought winds of up to 85 mph and torrential rains to the coastal region of Mississippi and Alabama. The storm made a second landfall at Category 1 strength approximately 5 miles west of Biloxi, MS, at about early Sunday morning.
The National Hurricane Center warned of a possible 7-to-11 feet storm surge, but the reality fell short. AIR Worldwide said that the storm’s compact size and relatively fast forward speed meant the highest recorded surge levels topped off at between 4 and 5 feet.
Between 3 inches to 6 inches of heavy rainfall, and up to 10 inches in some isolated locations, is expected across much of the South, as Nate, now downgraded to a tropical depression and rapidly weakening, continues to track inland.
President Trump issued a federal emergency declaration of Mississippi and Louisiana.
Reported structural damage to buildings has been limited thus far, as expected given Nate’s wind speeds and the stringency of building codes on the Gulf Coast. There were also very few reports of flood damage from Nate’s surge. On Dauphin Island in Alabama, officials reported submerged roads, houses, and cars.
According to AIR, some structural damage to homes and businesses is possible, as well as a weakening of some foundations caused by heavy rain and surge, with some homes removed from their foundations entirely. Roads and bridges, including escape routes, could also get washed out, leading to closures.
As of late morning on Sunday, Nate was a tropical depression with maximum sustained winds of 35 mph, with the storm moving north-northeast at near 24 mph, and it was expected to rapidly weakening to a post-tropical system on Monday or Tuesday.
Source: AIR Worldwide