1129 GMT December 17, 2017
Hurricane Nate made landfall along the US Gulf Coast in the state of Louisiana and headed towards Mississippi after leaving dozens dead and causing widespread flooding in Central America, AL JAZEERA reported.
The hurricane is expected to weaken significantly as it rages over land and is likely to become a tropical storm on Sunday morning, the National Hurricane Center said.
The eye of the storm was about 95km east of New Orleans with maximum sustained winds of 140km/h, the center said.
Nate will turn toward the north-northwest and then northeast with an increase in forward speed during the next couple of days, the center said.
Mitch Landrieu, mayor of New Orleans, declared a state of emergency, saying on Saturday that his city was preparing for the hurricane as it got stronger.
"I want to reiterate this to the people of New Orleans, we have been through this many, many times there is no need to panic. We're encouraging the public to do all they can to prepare as we do in every weather event; you have to have a plan," Landrieu said.
Mississippi officials also declared a state of emergency and Louisiana ordered some people to evacuate coastal areas in advance of landfall.
In Nicaragua, Nate's arrival followed two weeks of near-constant rain that had left the ground saturated and rivers swollen. Authorities placed the whole country on alert and warned of flooding and landslides.
Nicaragua's vice president and spokeswoman, Rosario Murillo, said that at least 11 people had died in that country due to the storm. Earlier Thursday, she had said 15 people had died before later revising to say some of those were still counted as missing.
She did not give details on all the deaths, but said two women and a man who worked for the Health Ministry were swept away by a flooded canal in the central municipality of Juigalpa.
Costa Rica's Judicial Investigation Organism blamed seven deaths in that country on the storm and said 15 people were missing. Flooding drove 5,000 residents into emergency shelters.
In Honduras, there were three dead and three missing, according to Oscar Triminio, spokesperson for the country's firefighters.
Damage caused by the storm prompted Costa Rican officials to postpone a World Cup qualifying football match between that country and Honduras, which had been scheduled for Friday night.