Jackson County braces for Hurricane Nate as flooding occurs at Biloxi casinos

Flooding inside of Hard Rock Casino Hotel after Hurricnae Nate made landfall in Biloxi on Oct. 8, 2017.
Flooding inside of Hard Rock Casino Hotel after Hurricnae Nate made landfall in Biloxi on Oct. 8, 2017.

As Hurricane Nate perhaps makes landfall in Harrison County, its Jackson County officials who are concerned about what happens next.

Landfall could be in the Gulfport area.

The coastal region is experiencing winds of 45 to 55 mph but there are wind gusts with hurricane-force strength. Keesler Air Force Base has reported a wind gust of 71 mph, according to the Weather Channel.

Waters along many beach areas have spilled out over U.S. 90 and on city streets and in rural neighborhoods. The first floor of Hard Rock Casino Hotel Biloxi is flooded. The first floor of the Golden Nugget parking area is also flooding. The Palace Casino is seeing flooding on their first-floor parking garage.

Sections of U.S. 90 are flooded as well, according to the Mississippi Department of Transportation.

Jackson County, with its Pascagoula River and bayous, has had a storm surge of a little more than six feet.

“If we get another two feet of water, to eight feet, we’re going to have some issues,” said Earl Etheridge, director of Jackson County Emergency Services.

The Emergency Operations Center has lost power and is operating on generator power.

Nate’s eyewall is crossing the Mississippi Coast and the hurricane is expected to make landfall just before midnight, somewhere in the central part of the Coast.

Etheridge said Jackson County has already received about 3.65 inches of rain. Much more and low-lying areas will flood and residents will need to be rescued, he said.

About 60 streets have flooded but Etheridge said he’s lost count because due to weather problems.

“We haven’t been able to get radio transmissions through in a timely basis,” Etheridge said.

Nate is perhaps 10 miles from the coastline and moving about 20 mph.

Flooding also is likely to be a problem in numerous neighborhoods across the Coast.

Robin Fitzgerald: 228-896-2307, @robincrimenews