BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant has declared a state of emergency in the six southern counties ahead of the threat of what is now Tropical Storm Nate. Bryant made the announcement at a media briefing in Gulfport on Friday morning.
"I will tell you that the State of Mississippi is well prepared for this storm. Assets, personnel have been prepared well in advance," said Bryant.
The National Weather Service issued a hurricane warning for Hancock, Harrison, Jackson, Stone, and George counties. A hurricane watch is in effect for Pearl River County.
Mississippi Emergency Management Agency Executive Director Lee Smithson said Nate is expected to make landfall as a Category 1 hurricane with winds in excess of 80 mph and a storm surge of up to 10 feet.
"This storm will impact the entire Mississippi Gulf Coast," Smithson said. "Beginning late tomorrow, people need to understand that they have to be prepared."
We'll start seeing tropical conditions Saturday. Winds could reach 45 to 80 miles per hour by Saturday night. Nate is expected to reach land early Sunday morning somewhere between Louisiana and Florida, including South Mississippi.
Smithson said anyone in the six southern counties who lives in a mobile home should find another place to stay. Harrison, Jackson, and George counties have already announced shelters will be opening Saturday.
The WLOX First Alert Weather Team is working around the clock to track Nate. We'll update this story as new information is released.