‘We are prepared’: Deadly Hurricane Nate approaches US Gulf Coast

US Gulf Coast residents scrambled with last-minute preparations Saturday as the outer bands of Hurricane Nate began lashing New Orleans amid fears the storm could intensify to a powerful Category Two hurricane.

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Nate spawned widespread flooding and left dozens of people dead in Central America, the latest in a series of deadly hurricanes to hammer Caribbean islands, Mexico and the southeastern US in this exceptionally busy hurricane season.

But US President Donald Trump said federal officials were prepared for the fast-moving storm. He urged residents of the states of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida on Twitter to “listen to your local authorities & be safe!”

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As a weary and sodden region prepared for its third hurricane in two months – filling sandbags, stocking up on essential supplies or packing cars to flee – New Orleans, which was ravaged by deadly Hurricane Katrina in 2005, and other cities on the coast were under a hurricane warning.

Nate’s center was located 180 miles (290 kilometres) south-southeast of the mouth of the Mississippi River, with winds swirling at 90 miles per hour, the US National Hurricane Center (NHC) said at 11:00am (1500 GMT).

The storm, a Category One hurricane on the five-level Saffir-Simpson scale, was intensifying as it moves toward the northwest rapidly at 26 miles per hour and is forecast to hit the Gulf Coast with winds of at least 96 miles per hour, the NHC said.

0:00 Louisiana governor warns of approaching tropical storm Nate Share Louisiana governor warns of approaching tropical storm Nate

‘Dangerous storm surge’

“The combination of a dangerous storm surge and the tide will cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded by rising waters moving inland from the shoreline,” the NHC warned.

Alabama Governor Kay Ivey tweeted that she had asked Trump for a presidential declaration of emergency, “to ensure we have all possible resources in place to respond to #HurricaneNate.”

Trump earlier issued an emergency declaration allowing federal aid to be sent to help mitigate the storm’s impact.

New Orleans issued a mandatory curfew for Saturday from 6:00 pm, and mandatory and voluntary evacuation orders were issued for certain low-lying areas.

Swells expected to affect the northwestern Caribbean over the weekend “are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions,” the US forecasters said.

Officials said the recent hurricanes, devastating as they were, actually helped with preparations for Nate, since emergency supplies and assets deployed for the earlier storms were still in place. Still, the resources of the US Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) have been stretched.

National Guardsmen were prepared to ride out the storm in the city’s huge Superdome arena, ready to respond once Nate passes over, the nola南京夜生活, news website reported.

Our great team at @FEMA is prepared for #HurricaneNate. Everyone in LA, MS, AL, and FL please listen to your local authorities & be safe!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 7, 2017’Prepare now’

As New Orleans braced for yet another powerful hurricane, Mayor Mitch Landrieu said that “our greatest threat … is not necessarily rain, but strong winds and storm surge.” 

The mayor urged residents in three areas under mandatory evacuation orders to leave by noon, when nearby floodgates were closing.

The city’s levee system has been considerably fortified since Katrina claimed some 1,800 lives in the region, but authorities warn that it has not completely eliminated flood risks.

Unlike Hurricane Harvey, which dumped record amounts of rain as it hovered over neighboring Texas for a week, fast-moving Nate was expected to pass through quickly along a northerly path.

Still, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards warned that Nate could cause unexpected damage.

“Anyone in low-lying areas … we are urging them to prepare now,” he said.

Oil rigs evacuated

In neighboring Mississippi, lines formed at gas stations in areas along the potential path of the storm. Off the coast, some oil and gas rigs in the Gulf of Mexico have been evacuated.

The Entergy electric utility warned users that power outages could last as long as a week.

The United States is recovering from two major hurricanes: Harvey, which tore through Texas and then Louisiana in August, and Irma, which slammed Florida in September.

Another powerful storm, Hurricane Maria, ripped through the Caribbean in late September, devastating several islands, including Dominica and Puerto Rico, a US territory.

When Nate struck Central America on Thursday and Friday, at least 31 people were killed and others were still missing.

Intense rains forced thousands from their homes, uprooting trees, knocking out bridges and turning roads into rivers.

Authorities in some areas warned that crocodiles might be roaming after rivers and estuaries flooded.

The Atlantic hurricane season normally runs from June to November.

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Traffic crash in London sparks major terror alert

A taxi driver sparked a major terror alert when his car ploughed into pedestrians in the heart of one of London’s busiest tourist areas, leaving 11 people injured.

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People fled for their lives after the black Toyota Prius mounted the pavement close to the Natural History Museum in South Kensington on Saturday afternoon.

Video footage posted on Twitter showed a man being restrained on the ground by members of the public after the incident in the heart of the capital’s museums district, an area popular with families with young children.

But police later confirmed the incident was “not being treated as a terror-related incident” and a man had been arrested over a traffic collision.

Those hurt were mostly suffering from head or leg injuries, the London Ambulance Service said, with nine taken to hospital. None were in a life-threatening condition.

The incident in #ExhibitionRoad #SouthKensington earlier is not being treated as a terror-related incident. It is a road traffic collision.

— Metropolitan Police (@metpoliceuk) October 7, 2017

Pictures and footage from the scene in Exhibition Road showed street damage and a massive police presence in the upmarket area, home to the museum, the Science Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A).

Some showed the black Toyota Prius, registered with Transport for London (TfL) as a mini cab, that had collided with a silver Vauxhall saloon and a Jaguar.

Sophie Parry and Lesley Guinness were on their way to the V&A’s Pink Floyd exhibition when they saw the driver of a black vehicle swerve across the road and hit a cyclist.

Parry said: “I thought maybe someone might have had a heart attack behind the wheel.

“Because I thought, this is strange for a vehicle – it must have been going pretty slow there to career across and do all that damage.

The friends said they saw people running away from the scene, after three “gunshot-like” bangs rang out a few seconds before the cyclist was struck.

Merilin Mueller, who works in a nearby cafe said police made her evacuate .

“It just seemed like an accident because there was a police car. We couldn’t see outside.

“Then there were loads of police cars and that’s when all of these police came marching down saying, ‘move, move’.

Downing Street had said that Prime Minister Theresa May was being kept up to date with developments.

Later on Twitter, she said: “My thanks to the first responders at this incident this afternoon and the actions of members of the public. My thoughts are with the injured.”

Soccer – Swiss turn on the style on nightmare evening for Gulacsi

The Swiss, with 27 points from nine games in European Group B, will now travel to Lisbon needing a draw away to Portugal to clinch top spot and a direct place in Russia.

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However, they will be overhauled if they lose to the European champions who have won eight straight matches since their 2-0 defeat in Basel at the start of the campaign in September last year. Gulacsi gifted the Swiss an 18th minute opener when he took a heavy first touch to control a straightforward back pass, slipped as he tried to regain his ground and allowed Granit Xhaka to steal the ball and score.

Fabian Frei added to Gulacsi’s misery two minutes later by finishing off a flowing move with a side-footed shot which deflected off Barnabas Bese.

Brimming with confidence, the Swiss should have had a third when Xherdan Shaqiri sent a low ball across the face of the Hungary area but Haris Seferovic contrived to miss from point-blank range.

The Swiss refused to let up and, after they won possession just outside the Hungary area, Shaqiri slipped ball to Steven Zuber who slotted his shot past Gulacsi for the third in the 43rd minute.

Zuber struck again four minutes after the break following another mistake by Gulacsi who got a hand to the Swiss player’s dipping shot only to see it drop into the net.

Richard Guzmics pulled one back in the 58th minute with a hooked effort although Gulacsi’s opposite number Yann Sommer was at fault for only palming away a corner.

Stephan Lichtsteiner drilled home Switzerland’s fifth in the 83rd minute before Roland Ugrai pulled another back for Hungary after Sommer flapped at another corner on an unhappy night for goalkeepers.

(Reporting by Brian Homewood; Editing by Rex Gowar)

Finch confident Maxwell will find T20 form

Aaron Finch has backed Glenn Maxwell to end his wretched run of form which continued with another disappointing showing against India.

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Leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal has claimed Maxwell’s wicket all four times he’s batted on the tour, needing just 17 balls to do so.

Maxwell fell to him again in Sunday’s first T20 international defeat in Ranchi for 17, as Australia’s middle order again folded and lost the match.

It was a rank long-hop which Maxwell pulled straight to mid-wicket that ended his innings – a shot that summed up his recent struggles with the bat.

Finch said his Victoria teammate has dominated bowling attacks in Indian conditions before and can do it again with two matches remaining in the series.

“I don’t think it’s far away,” Finch said.

“I think just a few game plan tinkers here and there would go a long way to probably just taking the pressure off himself,” Finch said.

“He probably feels as though people expect him to strike at 200 like everyone knows that he can, and hit six after six.”

Maxwell returned to the Australian line-up after being dropped for the final two ODIs due to a lack of runs.

After starting the series with 39 off 18 balls in a rain-shortened match in Chennai, Maxwell made 14 and 5 before selectors wielded the axe.

“It’s obviously always tough when somebody gets dropped, I’ve been there I know the feeling too well,” Finch said.

“Particularly when you’re on tour, you tend to go insular but he was the exact opposite.”

With the injured Steve Smith heading back to Australia, Maxwell batted at No. 3 in the T20.

Finch said the new role for a predominantly middle order player would take some adjustment.

“Batting No. 3 is a different responsibility in this format for him,” Finch said.

“It is a different role and can take a little bit of time to get your head around.”

Maxwell and the Australian team need to rebound quickly to save a second series loss in India, with the must-win second T20 in Guwahati on Tuesday.

Leeds stun Castleford in Super League GF

Danny McGuire insisted he had no regrets about his decision to leave Leeds after he inspired the Rhinos to a record-extending eighth Super League title.

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The veteran halfback was playing in his final match for his hometown club and he produced a kicking masterclass to guide Leeds to a 24-6 victory over Castleford in the grand final.

McGuire added a brace of tries and two drop-goals to deservedly win a second Harry Sunderland Trophy in three years.

The 34-year-old helped launch Leeds’ golden era with a title-clinching try against Bradford in 2004 and has made a habit of saving his best for Old Trafford.

But the Rhinos will defend their crown in 2018 without their captain after allowing him to join Hull KR.

“I made the decision and I’ve got to stick by it,” said McGuire. “The new challenge is going to be good for me.”

Like Kevin Sinfield, Jamie Peacock and Kylie Leuluai in 2015, McGuire – along with his long-time halfback partner Rob Burrow – enjoyed the perfect ending to his Leeds career.

Castleford had won their previous eight meetings with their big-city neighbours and eased to League Leaders’ Shield success but the Tigers had no answer to grand final experts Leeds on their maiden Old Trafford appearance.

McGuire, who also laid on the first of two tries for Tom Briscoe, admitted he could not have dreamt of a better finish.

It was a humbling first grand final experience for Castleford, who finished 10 points clear of nearest challengers Leeds in the Super League table.

“I’m disappointed we didn’t do ourselves justice,” said coach Daryl Powell.

“If we’d done that and got beat then you can hold your hands up and say ‘fair enough’.

“Leeds didn’t see the best of us tonight and massively deserved the win. But they didn’t have much to beat.”