BILOXI, Miss. — Hurricane Nate brought a burst of flooding and power outages to the U.S. Gulf Coast before weakening rapidly Sunday, sparing the region the kind of catastrophic damage left by a series of hurricanes that hit the southern U.S. and Caribbean in recent weeks.
Nate — the first hurricane to make landfall in Mississippi since Katrina in 2005 — quickly lost strength, with its winds diminishing to a tropical depression as it pushed northward into Alabama and toward Georgia with heavy rain. It was a Category 1 hurricane when it came ashore outside Biloxi early Sunday, its second landfall after initially hitting southeastern Louisiana on Saturday evening.
The storm surge from the Mississippi Sound littered Biloxi's main beachfront highway with debris and flooded a casino's lobby and parking structure overnight.
By dawn, however, Nate's receding floodwaters didn't reveal any obvious signs of widespread damage in the city where Hurricane Katrina had leveled thousands of beachfront homes and businesses.
No storm-related deaths or injuries were immediately reported.
Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant praised state and local officials and coastal residents for working together to avoid loss of life.
Lee Smithson, director of the state emergency management agency, said damage from Nate was held down in part because of work done and lessons learned from Katrina.
"If that same storm would have hit us 15 years ago, the damage would have been extensive and we would have had loss of life." Smithson said of Nate. "But we have rebuilt the coast in the aftermath of Katrina higher and stronger."
Nate knocked out power to more than 100,000 residents in Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana and Florida, but crews were working on repairs.
As of Sunday afternoon, Alabama Power said more than 62,000 customers remained without power, while utilities and cooperatives in Mississippi said more than 21,000 were without electricity. In Louisiana, there were scattered outages during the storm, while Florida Gov. Rick Scott said 6,800 customers had lost power in his state.
Mississippi's Gulf Coast casinos got approval to reopen in mid morning after closing Saturday as the storm approached.
Before Nate sped past Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula late Friday and entered the Gulf of Mexico, it drenched Central America with rains that left at least 22 people dead. But Nate didn't approach the intensity of Harvey, Irma and Maria.