Hurricane Nate makes landfall TWICE along the Gulf Coast

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BILOXI, MS -- Nate is officially the third hurricane to hit the U.S. mainland in just six weeks.

The system was downgraded to a tropical depression Sunday morning after making landfall -- twice! It initially hit as a Category 1 hurricane and has been steadily weakening ever since.

Nate made its second US landfall near Biloxi, Mississippi, shortly after midnight local time Sunday as a Category 1 hurricane. Hours earlier it had made its first US landfall near the mouth of the Mississippi River in southeast Louisiana, with winds of 85 mph the hurricane center reported Saturday night.

It was the first hurricane to make landfall in Mississippi since Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

Nate triggered hurricane, tropical storm and storm surge warnings across a swath of Gulf states, as residents braced for the third hurricane to hit the US mainland in just six weeks.

Officials warned coastal communities of the storm surge, which is the height of water above dry ground. In Mississippi, the storm surge could reach up to 8 feet in some areas between Mississippi and the Florida panhandle, according to the hurricane center.

Nate's path

Winds as fast as 89 mph were reported east of Venice, Louisiana, and 70 mph at Keesler Airforce Base in Mississippi.

Alabama Power reported Sunday morning that about 59,000 customers were without power, 56,000 of which were in Mobile.

In Mississippi, 50,000 customers were without power, according to a spokesman for the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency. More than 10,000 customers were affected by outages in the Florida panhandle, according to Gulf Power.

"Nate's center will continue to move inland over Mississippi and across the Deep South, Tennessee Valley, and central Appalachian Mountains through Monday," according to the hurricane center's Sunday advisory. Those areas could see anywhere from 3 to 6 inches of rain, the center said, with a maximum of 10 inches in some spots.

There was also the risk of isolated tornadoes in Florida's panhandle, eastern Alabama and some areas in northern Georgia.

"A turn toward the northeast with an increase in forward speed is expected during the next couple of days," the advisory said. The storm would "continue to quickly weaken as it moves farther inland," it added.

Nate has already carved a path of devastation in Central America. At least 28 people were killed Thursday in Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Honduras. Hundreds were rescued from floodwaters and mudslides. Many lost power and running water