The port of New Orleans was back in business less than 24 hours after the landfall of Hurricane Nate. The rapidly weakened category 1 storm that was a welcome relief to a region battered by the most intense U.S. tropical systems in a dozen years.
The Coast Guard allowed normal operations to resume at New Orleans by 5 p.m. local time Sunday after helicopter flyovers and port assessments found no damage. A 10’ surge pushed by Hurricane Nate brought street flooding in Biloxi, Miss., and Mobile, Ala., but no reported major maritime casualties. Coast Guard officials said they were working with the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality to identify and contain potential pollution from several grounded and sunken vessels around Pass Christian, Miss.
The Port of Mobile was returned to normal operations for daylight transit only Monday, while Pascagoula and Gulfport, Miss., and Pensacola, Fla., remained closed as evaluations continued.
Anticipating the first landfall around 7 p.m. Saturday at the mouth of the Mississippi River, Louisiana state and New Orleans city officials declared a state of emergency, including a curfew in the city at that hour. But that urban lockdown was lifted about an hour later when it became evident the danger was passing to the east.