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New Orleans Declares State Of Emergency, Evacuations Ordered Ahead Of Hurricane Nate

The strengthening hurricane is expected to make landfall on the northern Gulf Coast on Saturday night. The storm is blamed for at least 21 deaths in Central America.

Originally posted on
Updated on

A state of emergency has been declared in Louisiana and Mississippi as Hurricane Nate barrels toward the US Gulf Coast with strong winds and dangerous storm surge.

NASA

A satellite image taken at 9:55 p.m. EDT Friday shows Nate poised to enter the Gulf of Mexico.

The storm is expected to make landfall on Saturday night, prompting the mayor of New Orleans to declare a state of emergency and order mandatory evacuations for parts of the city.

Areas outside of levee protection could see 6-9 ft surge.I'm ordering Mandatory Evacuation for Venetian Isles, Lake Catherine & Irish Bayou

A curfew was also issued for the city, beginning at 6 p.m. Saturday.

I am instituting a Mandatory Curfew that will begin Saturday at 6 p.m. and ending Sunday morning.

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The precautions were taken after the National Hurricane Center issued a hurricane warning from Grand Isle, Louisiana, to the Alabama-Florida border, as well as for New Orleans and Lake Pontchartrain.

As of 2 a.m. ET Saturday, Hurricane Nate was located 150 miles northwest of the western tip of Cuba or about 420 miles south of the mouth of the Mississippi River. The storm was barreling to the north at 22 mph with sustained winds of 80 mph.

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards warned Gulf Coast residents not to underestimate the storm's potential for causing major damage. New Orleans in particular could be hit hard by the storm, as the drainage system is still being repaired following heavy flooding in August.

The hurricane center also warned of "life-threatening" storm surge flooding along portions of the northern Gulf Coast.

Forecasters said areas along the coast should expect a 4 to 7 foot storm surge, and a surge of 3 to 5 feet along Lake Pontchartrain. Overall, 3 to 6 inches of rain is expected along the Gulf Coast.

“No one should take this storm lightly," Bel Edwards said in a press conference. "As we know from past storms, low intensity does not mean low impact."

In Central America, where Nate brought flooding rains and landslides, at least 21 people have been killed and dozens more are missing.

Inti Ocon/AFP / Getty Images

Boats are beached Friday in Rivas, Nicaragua after Tropical Storm Nate.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates and follow BuzzFeed News on Twitter.

Ellie Hall is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Washington, DC. Her secure PGP fingerprint is 6055 A264 DADD AADC 347E 5986 547C C11C DD7D 176A.

Contact Ellie Hall at ellie.hall@buzzfeed.com.

Blake Montgomery is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in San Francisco.

Contact Blake Montgomery at blake.montgomery@buzzfeed.com.

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