Weather

Get back out to the islands. All but one are open after Hurricane Nate.

Equipment works to re-nourish the sand on the southeast side of Cat Island in 2017. Similar work is under way on Ship Island and fill is also being added to Deer and Petit Bois islands of the Mississippi Coast.
Equipment works to re-nourish the sand on the southeast side of Cat Island in 2017. Similar work is under way on Ship Island and fill is also being added to Deer and Petit Bois islands of the Mississippi Coast. meperez@sunherald.com

If you’re itching to get out to the islands off Mississippi’s coast, all but one are open.

Gulf Islands National Seashore officials announced Wednesday that they are done making assessments and cleaning up the Mississippi islands, with the exception of West Ship Island, after Hurricane Nate left damage Oct. 7-8.

Operations are back to normal at Cat, East Ship, Horn, West Petit Bois (Sand) and Petit Bois Islands.

It will take a few weeks longer to finish the replenishment of Cat Island. Some of the sand that was dredged and pumped onto the island shifted during the storm, according to the Secretary of State’s office. The new completion date for the project is early November.

Ferry trips to West Ship Island have been canceled for the rest of the season, as Nate left damage on the island and including its boardwalks, restrooms, historic fort and pier. All are closed to visitors.

The Ship Island Excursions is launching a new dolphin-watching cruise, probably up until Christmas. The ferry will leave the dock in Gulfport at 1 p.m. Saturday and Sunday for a 2-hour cruise looking for Atlantic Bottle-nose dolphin. Tickets can be purchased in advance at msshipisland.com or at the ticket booth at Ship Island Excursions one hour prior to departure.

All national seashore areas, including the islands managed by the National Park Service off the Mississippi coast, were closed Oct. 6 as Nate approached the Gulf Coast.

The Category 1 storm caused moderate to significant damage to piers, boardwalks and other facilities on the islands and the mainland.

A list of closures and impacts can be found at www.nps.gov/guis/learn/news/news.htm

Park status updates are posted online at www.nps.gov/GulfIslands, www.Facebook.com/GulfIslandsNPS and www.Twitter.com/GulfIslandsNPS.

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