Residents of coastal towns and cities across the Southeastern US are breathing a sigh of relief as Hurricane Nate is rapidly weakening after twice making landfall in the Southeastern US late Saturday into early Sunday. The NHC has downgraded it to a tropical depression as it moves inland over Alabama; NHC has also discontinued all storm-related warnings for coastal areas, though heavy rains and flooding continue in some areas. The storm's maximum sustained winds have dropped to 40 mph, and as of late-morning Sunday, the storm was traveling near Birmingham, Alabama.
Many of the Hurricane watches and warnings issued before the storm made landfall have been discontinued.
Meteorologist Jim Cantore shared this video of the storm taken in Orange Beach Alabama shortly before Nate made its first landfall. Viewers can clearly see a water spout forming offshore.
Here it is: pic.twitter.com/mrVOrhwH6y— Jim Cantore (@JimCantore) October 7, 2017
Nate battered coastal cities with storm surges as high as five feet, flooding parts of downtown Biloxi Mississippi. The highest storm surge by this point was 4.7 feet at Shell Beach, about 15 miles east-southeast of New Orleans, according to readings from tide gauges in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and the Florida Panhandle.
Videos circulating online showed floodwaters rising in the lobby of the Golden Nugget Casino in Biloxi.
Flooding was also documented in Mobile, Alabama.
Though the storm was much more mild than many had feared, it still left tens of thousands of utility customers without power.
Alabama Power reported Sunday morning that about 59,000 customers were without power, 56,000 of which were in Mobile.
In Mississippi, 50,000 customers were without power, according to a spokesman for the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency. More than 10,000 customers were affected by outages in the Florida panhandle, according to Gulf Power.
Officials in New Orleans were particularly relieved after ordering mandatory evacuations and imposing an early curfew to remain in effect until storm conditions subside. Nate moved sharply east after making landfall, sparing New Orleans from a direct hit.
Nate moved east of New Orleans, sparing the city the worst of the storm.
New Orleans had spent most of Saturday under a hurricane warning that was lifted around 7 p.m. It was downgraded to a tropical storm warning and New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu lifted a citywide curfew. "I think we dodged a bullet," said Louisiana Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser. "I think we got the dry side of the storm."
Nungesser said he had been at Plaquemines Parish, which is at the southeast tip of the state. "We saw no flooding or levees overtopping," he said.
Natural gas production in the Gulf of Mexico plunged to its lowest level in three years ahead of the storm as refiners and energy producers evacuated employees from offshore rigs. Here’s a roundup of the closures and evacuations, courtesy of Bloomberg:
- Operators have shut in 1.62m b/d, or 92%, of U.S. Gulf oil production in preparation for Nate, BSEE says in notice 2.48 bcf/d, or 77%, of natgas production offline
- Natural gas production from Gulf of Mexico plunged to lowest in data going back three years
- Colonial Pipeline says no impact on operations from Nate
- Exxon shut its Julia and Hadrian South fields in Gulf of Mexico
- Shell shutting production at Mars, Ursa, Olympus and Ram Powell hubs in eastern Gulf of Mexico
- ConocoPhillips plans to evacuate its Magnolia crude and natural gas platform of nonessential staff
- Murphy Oil removing staff, curtailing output at Gulf of Mexico platforms and fields that are in path of storm
- BP removing staff from its Atlantis and Mad Dog crude and gas platforms in the Gulf of Mexico in advance of Nate, says person familiar with matter
- Anadarko planned to remove all staff and shut its Marlin crude and gas production platform Friday
- Enbridge said all personnel from Ship Shoal 332A and Ship Shoal 207 natural gas platforms in Gulf of Mexico will be evacuated
- BHP to fully evacuate its Neptune and Shenzi crude and gas platforms in Gulf of Mexico by Fridaymorning
- Chevron shutting Fourchon, Empire oil terminals; informed shippers deliveries, receipts suspended for duration of storm
- Transco: Transco gas line has seen losses from offshore producers of ~280 mmcf/d as of Saturdayafternoon: Williams spokesman Keith Isbell
- Ports in Mobile, Ala. and New Orleans areas remained shuttered.
Ports near New Orleans and Mobile were closed ahead of the storm and remain out of service.
- Coast Guard shuts ports in Mobile, Ala., New Orleans, La. areas
- Magellan limits ops at Marrero, La., oil terminal before Nate
- Port Fourchon, La., to begin mandatory evacuations at noon local time Saturday
- NuStar shut St. James, La., terminal dock, truck rack
Some refiners were also shut:
- Chevron Pascagoula refinery in Miss. is shutting ahead of Nate, according to a person familiar with operations
- Chevron’s 330K b/d Pascagoula refinery shut Oct. 6: Genscape
- Phillips 66 says Alliance, La., refinery has shut for Hurricane Nate
- Shell Norco is said to cut rates; others continue normal ops
In one of the more dramatic clips to emerge from coverage of the disaster, one reporter broadcasting by the edge of the water in Biloxi was nearly hit with a flying chair.
Luckily, nobody was hurt.