If Hurricane Nate maintains a northward push at 20 mph, it could make landfall somewhere between Pass Christian and Gulfport, emergency officials said.
“It doesn’t look great for us,” Harrison County Emergency Management Director Rupert Lacy said as rain and wind began to pummel the area around 8 p.m. and waves crashed against seawalls.
Pass Christian, Long Beach or Gulfport could be first hit as Nate’s eye comes across land.
“That’s what the National Weather Service is telling us,” Lacy said.
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That means that Biloxi and Jackson County could be on the “dirty side” of the hurricane where the strongest thunderstorms are. Meteorologist Jim Cantore said live around 8:05 p.m. that Pascagoula could see significant storm surge after Nate makes landfall.
A strong line of thunderstorms hit Harrison County around 8 p.m.
The storms are expected to be their worst until Nate makes landfall sometime between midnight and 1 am., if it stays it’s present course, according to the National Weather Service.
“We’re probably looking at a maximum storm surge of water between 10 p.m. and 3 a.m., and probably an 11- or 12-foot storm surge, Lacy said.
“If you need to go to a shelter, go now. Just tell law enforcement that’s where you’re going.”
In Hancock County, EMA Director Brian Adam was keeping an extra close eye on Nate’s path.
Nate first made landfall just southwest of the Mississippi River in Louisiana.
“We’re expecting the worst but hoping for the best,” Adam said. “But the hurricane could wobble either way and affect us more or affect us less.”
Hancock County’s curfew doesn’t start until 9 p.m. Saturday. The curfew in neighboring Harrison and Jackson counties went in effect at 7 p.m.
“The sheriff felt 9 p.m. would give people time to get home, especially those who work out of town, and other law enforcement agreed,” Adam said.
Police Chief Tim Hendricks said his officers are prepared in case his city is hit.
“When you get in these last stretches before a hurricane hits, a storm can always move.”
Nate is moving north about 20 mph with maximum sustained winds of 85 mph. The hurricane’s eye is expected to become more defined hour by hour.