President Trump declared the states of Florida and Alabama as disasters following the landfall of Hurricane Nate, the fourth hurricane to hit the U.S. in about six and one-half weeks.
The declaration will enable the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to coordinate disaster relief efforts for the states.
The action will allow for the acquisition of appropriate aid – including direct federal assistance.
With the 2017 hurricane season jam-packed with named storms striking Texas, Florida, and Peurto Rico, the gulf states can now be added to the list.
After making its first U.S. landfall Saturday night at the mouth of the Mississippi River in Louisiana, Hurricane Nate made its second impact in Biloxi, MS early Sunday morning. The system was downgraded to a tropical storm, the a tropical depression by the National Hurricane Center several hours later.
Mississippi had not seen a hurricane make landfall since 2005’s Hurricane Katrina. The Mississippi Department of Transportation reported flooding from Nate in sections of US HWY 90. Several casinos and resorts have also noted flooding due to storm surge.
56,000 residents in Mobile, AL were without power as a result of the storm. In total, more than 100,000 homes and businesses were left without electricity due to Nate.
Florida and Georgia saw areas of power loss as well as downed trees, billboards, and storm surge. Eight Carnival cruises and three Royal Caribbean ships changed course schedules due to Nate’s path.
First responders in Pensacola fielded calls about storm surge, debris, impassable roads, and power loss. The National Weather Service warned Santa Rosa and Escambia Counties are still at risk of storm surge up to five feet.
The Pensacola area is under a flash flood watch until 7 p.m. Sunday and a rip current warning until 7 p.m. Monday.
Nate’s impact is forecast to bring soaking rains and heavy winds over the inland regions of the southeast through Sunday and bring rainfall into the Appalachians and portions of the Northeast through Monday.