HURRICANE Nate came ashore along Mississippi’s coast outside Biloxi early yesterday, the first to make landfall there since Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

The tropical storm, which has killed at least 21 people in Central America, had maximum sustained winds early Sunday near 85 mph (140 kph), the US National Hurricane Centre said.

It was Nate’s second US landfall. On Saturday night the storm came ashore along a sparsely populated area in south-east Louisiana where powerful winds knocked out power to homes and businesses.

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Cities along the Mississippi coast were on high alert and governors there and in in Louisiana and Alabama have declared states of emergency.

Lee Smithson, Mississippi emergency management director said:”This is the worst hurricane that has impacted Mississippi since Hurricane Katrina. Everyone needs to understand that, that this is a significantly dangerous situation.”

Florida governor Rick Scott warned of Nate’s impact, saying the hurricane “is expected to bring life-threatening storm surges, strong winds and tornadoes that could reach across the Panhandle.

Roughly 100,000 residents in the western Panhandle have been evacuated from their homes.