Jackson County

Hurricane Nate’s surge ‘took everything it could get to,’ Jackson County resident says

Kenny DiNero, owner of the bait shop at Ocean Springs Harbor, was disheartened Monday when he looked at the damage to his business, even though he had spent three days packing and moving.
Kenny DiNero, owner of the bait shop at Ocean Springs Harbor, was disheartened Monday when he looked at the damage to his business, even though he had spent three days packing and moving. klnelson@sunherald.com

Hurricane Nate’s storm surge took the large county pier called Lake Mars in Gulf Park Estates, undermined and crushed the amphitheater on Pascagoula’s front beach, lifted shrimp boats onto land along River Road in Pascagoula and ate away at yards facing the open Mississippi Sound in Gautier.

It washed away three large areas of Belle Fontaine Beach Road south of St. Andrews and scrambled the barriers that created the south side of Jimmy Buffett Bridge in Pascagoula. It badly damaged the bait shop business at Ocean Springs Harbor and flooded the first floor of the Tiki restaurant in Gautier.

Officials are still assessing the financial damage to public property and projects and don’t have exact figures. The amphitheater will take at least $15,000 to piece back together — more if a new foundation is needed. A permanent fix for Belle Fontaine Road will cost close to $150,000.

But there are so many other factors. A lot of electrical and lighting went under water at the harbors and piers. And fence is missing.

Rick Minkler, who drinks his coffee each morning watching the Mississippi Sound from his porch in Gautier, walked out Sunday to a cavernous section of land missing from behind his bulkhead. His neighbor’s was 10 times worse. Both had weakened walls from previous storms, but Nate’s surge just got in there and did extensive damage.

“The surge took everything it could get to,” Minkler told friends on Facebook.

Jackson County gauges recorded 7.6 feet of surge on the east side and 10 feet at the Fort Bayou Bridge, north of Ocean Springs. But Emergency Manager Earl Etheridge said he believes, by the evidence, that Hurricane Nate’s surge in Gulf Park Estates and the St. Andrews area was as high as 12 feet. The storm came in during a high tide, and conditions were already 2.1 feet above normal.

We got hammered pretty good,” Etheridge said Monday.

Kenny DiNero spent three days moving fuel tanks and the main building of his bait shop at the harbor in Ocean Springs, but he still had tens of thousands of dollars in damage from destroyed piers and other electrical issues and bulkhead damage.

On Monday, Patricia Moore was waiting her turn with Walker Diving and Salvage. The company had a crane lifting Bill Nelson’s shrimp boat off a pier and bulkhead and the shoulder of River Road. It looked like someone had just put the huge shrimp boat in reverse and backed it onto land.

Moore’s was next to Nelson’s. Her shrimp boat — the 1MooreX, a 32-foot Lafitte skiff — partially sank. She said they would try and haul both boats, via barge, to a dry dock for repairs.

Moore, an active shrimper, is the owner and operates the boat with her husband. She said he doesn’t even have an estimate of what the total cost will be.

Storm surge

Harrison County:

  • 8.5 feet at Point Cadet
  • 10.5 feet in West Biloxi and East Gulfport
  • 7.5 feet at Pass Christian Harbor

Hancock County:

  • 6.29 feet at the Bay Waveland Yacht Club

Jackson County:

  • 7.6 feet on the east side and 10 feet at the Fort Bayou Bridge, north of Ocean Springs
  • As high as 12 feet in Gulf Park Estates and the St. Andrews area
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