Coast Guard in New Orleans begins preparing for Nate to make landfall along Gulf


Nate is forecast to reach the northern Gulf Coast this weekend as a hurricane, and the threat of direct impacts from wind, storm surge, and heavy rainfall is increasing from Louisiana through the Florida Panhandle. A hurricane watch and storm surge watch will likely be issued for portions of the northern Gulf Coast tonight or Friday morning, and residents in these areas should monitor the progress of Nate and heed any advice given by local officials.

The Coast Guard has begun securing its area of responsibility and adjusting port conditions along the Gulf Coast as the threat of Tropical Storm Nate continues to move north Thursday.

The Coast Guard has also set Port Condition X-Ray for the New Orleans captain of the port zone. Port Condition X-Ray is set when gale force winds are possible within 48 hours. All commercial vessels and barges greater than 500 gross tons and all oceangoing barges and their supporting tugs shall report to the Coast Guard captain of the port their intention to depart or remain in port. They shall also complete an application and submit it in writing within 24 hours to the Coast Guard captain of the port to remain in port.

Due to lack of available space in the Lower Mississippi River, the New Orleans Coast Guard captain of the port has closed the Lower Mississippi River to all inbound deep draft vessels that do not have confirmed berth arrangements.

All mariners are reminded that there are no safe havens in these ports and that the port is safest when the inventory of vessels is at a minimum. For planning purposes, all oceangoing vessels and barges over 500 gross tons will be required to depart the ports and head out to sea when Hurricane Condition Yankee is set, generally 24 hours before the on-set of gale force winds. Inland vessels and barges greater than 500 gross tons are required to seek safe refuge in a port outside of the impacted ports.

All marine interests must take early and substantial action to ensure safety of the port and vessels. Future port conditions cannot be predicted with any degree of certainty, but provided the storm remains on the projected course and track, port stakeholders should expect port conditions to continue to change for the next 48-72 hours.

For the most up-to-date Marine Information Safety Bulletins, visit c and look for links under "Safety and Security."

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