63ºF

Hurricane Nate cleanup begins, but storm not as destructive as anticipated

BILOXI, Miss. – Hurricane Nate, a fast moving Category 1 storm, made landfall two times along the north Gulf Coast in Mississippi on Saturday night.

The first hurricane to hit the area since Katrina did cause some damage, but not nearly as much destruction as people were anticipating. 

"Unlike Katrina 10 years ago, which right here would have been 30 feet of tidal surge, I probably would have lost my home over on the  back bay," said Terry Ryan who lives in Biloxi and lost everything during Katrina. 

"I got prepared this time and it wasn't as bad as it could have been and we're grateful that everybody's safe," said Ryan in regards to Hurricane Nate. 

The main cause of damage was from the 5-foot storm surge which sent water from the Gulf onto hwy 90 and flooded ground levels and parking garages of casinos. 

Storm chasers recorded video from the ground level of the Golden Nugget Casino which shows water entering doors to the elevator and escalators that lead to the main building. 

"Where we're standing right now right here is one of our two ground entrances this is not part of our facility, folks park on the ground to left to the right of us and take these escalators up," explained Scott King Vice President of Resort Operations for the Golden Nugget. 

King said at one point the storm was intense but all their staff and guest were safe.  He said  it was reported the first floor of the casino and resort was damaged, but that wasn't true.  

Sunday morning crews were already inside the area cleaning up. 

The Casino's owner, Tilman Fertitta, who also owns the Housotn Rockets and Landry's restaurant's said the casino was back up and running by Sunday afternoon. 
 
“The casino and the hotel are up 26 feet in the air,  not even a Katrina surge could get it today, so we really weren’t worried about it," said Fertitta.  "We know it floods the garage and pool but that just becomes a lot of clean up, but doesn’t cause huge problems."  

There were some downed trees, sand that drifted onto Highway 90 and some debris, but compared to past storms, the damage was not too bad. 

"I knew it wasn't going to be bad, but a lot of people still get really nervous since Katrina around here," said Lachriseja Elisaga who lives in Biloxi.  "As soon as you say hurricane, everybody thinks Katrina , I was here for Katrina and I can completely understand, but yeah other than that boat I really don't think there's any real damage that couldn't be taken care of with a couple rakes and a garbage bag."  

Elisaga is talking about a sail boat name "Reliance" that was washed onto the beach. 

Many people came by to take pictures with the boat which by default became the symbol of Hurricane Nate. 

"I'm glad it's not mine, and I hope it's insured for the poor guy," said Ryan.