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Tropical storm Nate weakens over Alabama

NEW ORLEANS Tropical storm Nate rapidly weakened as it moved over Alabama yesterday, although the fast-moving former hurricane rattled the doors of Biloxi's casinos and left gambling floors and highways in the region flooded after making landfall in Mississippi.

Its maximum sustained winds dropped to 70kmh as it moved north-east into Alabama, prompting the National Hurricane Centre to end its tropical storm warning for the region east of the Alabama-Florida border yesterday.

FATALITIES

Only a few hours earlier, it had been blowing at 110kmh, but Nate appeared to lack the devastating punch of its recent predecessors.

The fourth major storm to strike the United States in less than two months, Nate killed at least 30 people in Central America before entering the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico and bearing down on the US South.

It has also shut down most oil and gas production in the Gulf.

Nate follows a succession of big Atlantic hurricanes, Harvey, Irma and Maria, that have devastated areas of the Caribbean and southern US in the last two months.

The storm's centre will move inland over Mississippi and across the Deep South, Tennessee Valley and Central Appalachian Mountains through today.

Heavy rainfall and storm surge flooding continued to be a danger across the region, the National Hurricane Centre said.

Nate made its initial landfall near the mouth of the Mississippi River on Saturday evening and then made a second landfall early yesterday near Boloxi, Mississippi, where its 46,000 residents were warned that the highest storm surge could reach about 3m. - REUTERS

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