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The Latest: Cruise ship returning after Nate delay

The latest on Nate and Tropical Storm Ophelia (all times local):

2:30 p.m.

A cruise ship stuck at sea because of Hurricane Nate is returning to its port on the Gulf Coast.

The Alabama Cruise Terminal says the Carnival Fantasy is set to dock at 4 p.m. Monday in Mobile, Alabama. It was originally scheduled to return Saturday but couldn’t make it back because of the storm.

Officials have to survey the ship channel and make sure navigational markers are in place after a storm. The Coast Guard says it has reopened the Port of Mobile with restrictions.

Ports remain closed in Pensacola, Florida, and the Mississippi cities of Gulfport and Pascagoula.


12:15 p.m.

Passengers aboard a cruise ship are stuck in the Gulf of Mexico because a cruise liner can’t make it back to port following Hurricane Nate.

The Carnival Fantasy is two days overdue since the port of Mobile, Alabama, was closed because of the storm. It’s unclear when the ship will return.

Some passengers are complaining about the unscheduled delay on social media. Carnival spokeswoman Christine De La Huerta says the ship has plenty of provisions, and it’s meandering in the Gulf while awaiting the reopening.

Officials have to survey the ship channel and make sure navigational markers are in place after a storm. A spokeswoman with the Alabama State Docks says the Coast Guard reopened the port with restrictions on Monday.

The ship has a total guest capacity of 2,056 people and carries a crew of 920. The ship departed Mobile on a five-night Caribbean trip on Oct. 2.


11:10 a.m.

Nate caused relatively little damage in Alabama, but it could still take days to deal with the storm’s worst effects.

On Dauphin Island, Mayor Jeff Collier said workers were using heavy equipment Monday to remove as much as 6 feet of sand that washed across a more than 3-mile stretch of the island’s main road and more than 20 side streets.

Collier says Nate “moved the beachfront on to the roadway,” and neither power company nor city water workers can begin repairing damage until the road is clear.

To the east, at Gulf State Park, waves from the storm washed out removable flooring panels on a more than 1,500-foot-long fishing pier that was rebuilt after being destroyed by Hurricane Ivan in 2004. Workers were replacing the panels Monday with a goal of reopening the pier in time for the National Shrimp Festival, which opens Thursday in nearby Gulf Shores.

Alabama Power Co. said only 8,500 homes and businesses remained without electrical service, down from a high of nearly 146,000 customers without power at the worst of the storm.


10:55 a.m.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami says that a depression in open Atlantic has strengthened to a tropical storm.

The center says Tropical Storm Ophelia is about 860 miles (1,385 kilometers) west-southwest of the Azores and poses no threat to land.

No coastal watches or warnings are in effect as of the hurricane center’s 11 a.m. EDT advisory.


10:10 a.m.

A volunteer firefighter clearing debris after storms associated with Tropical Storm Nate died when he was hit by a car in western North Carolina.

The Triple Community Fire Department says firefighters were called to U.S. Highway 70 in Morganton shortly before midnight Sunday when 40-year-old Jason Keith Hensley was struck. The fire department said Hensley was wearing reflective gear.

The North Carolina Highway Patrol says 58-year-old Randall Stewart has been charged with driving while impaired and several other traffic and drug charges. It was not known if he has an attorney yet.

More than 10,000 customers were without electricity. Duke Energy reported the outages were worst on Monday in Polk and Macon counties.

The National Weather Service was working to confirm whether damage was caused by tornadoes.


4:10 a.m.

Nate slogged its way across the U.S. East Coast on Monday, dumping heavy rains and bringing gusty winds to inland states as a tropical depression, a day after Hurricane Nate brought a burst of flooding and power outages to the U.S. Gulf Coast.

Nate spared the region the kind of catastrophic damage left by a series of hurricanes that hit the southern U.S. and Caribbean in recent weeks.

Nate — the first hurricane to make landfall in Mississippi since Katrina in 2005 — quickly lost strength Sunday, with its winds diminishing to a tropical depression as it pushed northward into Alabama and Georgia with heavy rain. It was a Category 1 hurricane when it came ashore outside Biloxi early Sunday, its second landfall after initially hitting southeastern Louisiana on Saturday evening.


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