Hurricane Nate threatens US Gulf Coast with $4 billion loss

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Forecasters said it is likely to reach the U.S. Gulf Coast as a hurricane over the weekend.

A second landfall is likely on the MS coast a few hours after the eye of the storm passes over the Chandeleur Sound. It's expected to make landfall late tonight in the Louisiana/Mississippi/Alabama corridor.

Hurricane Nate has made landfall in the U.S. state of Louisiana as a category one storm with wind gusts of almost 140 kilometres per hour.

Louisiana and MS officials declared states of state of emergency and Louisiana ordered some people to evacuate coastal areas and barrier islands ahead of its expected landfall Saturday night or early Sunday.

The storm was located about (555.2 kilometres) south-southeast of the mouth of the Mississippi River and was moving north-northwest at 22 miles per hour (35 kph).

The refinery is south of New Orleans along the banks of the Mississippi River.

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A dozen casinos in MS, including the Beau Rivage and the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Biloxi, took the rare step of closing early as the storm moved in. Once Nate makes landfall, it should begin a more N followed by NE track due to a trough moving in from the west.

Hurricane Nate came ashore at the mouth of the Mississippi River on Saturday and pelted the central Gulf Coast with wind and rain as the fast-moving storm steamed toward the Mississippi coast.

The storm is gathering strength over the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

Officials in New Orleans sought to calm nerves ahead of the storm's arrival in the U.S.

Weather Decision is expecting tropical storm-force winds to last about 12 hours, Goatley said, a relatively short period that will help offshore producers return to full operations quickly and rigs return to their drilling sites.

Meanwhile, hurricane warnings stretching from Louisiana to Florida have been issued in anticipation of the storm's landfall, according to the NHC.

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"The combination of a risky storm surge and the tide will cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded by rising waters moving inland from the shoreline", the NHC warned.

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards encouraged residents to prepare for Nate as if it were a much stronger storm.

Hurricane Nate killed at least 21 people as it passed across Central America, hitting Nicaragua and Costa Rica.

The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement said in a news release that workers had been evacuated from 66 production platforms as of late Friday morning.

The New Orleans metro area is now under a hurricane warning.

Bryant declared a state of emergency for six counties and any others that might be affected by Nate, the state's emergency management agency said.

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