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Nate was no Katrina, and we are all glad

Hurricane Nate was not the storm forecasters feared, and for that we are thankful.

Biloxi city employees worked before dawn Sunday to clear Highway 90 in Biloxi, where sand, logs and even a large trash bin had been washed onto the four-lane, beachfront road. Despite the debris, there was little to no visible damage to structures. A handful of businesses had reopened before dawn, and the storm surge that washed across the highway had receded by 6 a.m., The Associated Press reported.

Mississippi Emergency Management Agency spokesman Greg Flynn said more than 1,000 people spent Saturday night in shelters.

It was the first hurricane to make landfall in Mississippi since 2005, and it left flooded streets and a few flooded businesses in its wake. But there was not the widespread damage that Katrina left. No storm-related deaths or injuries were reported by Monday.

Emergency officials chalk that up to lessons learned following Katrina. The Coast was rebuilt stronger  following Katrina, and it showed.

“If that same storm would have hit us 15 years ago, the damage would have been extensive and we would have had loss of life,” Lee Smithson, director of the state emergency management agency, said. “But we have rebuilt the Coast in the aftermath of Katrina higher and stronger.”

Smithson is right. But Nate was no Katrina, and we join the entire Gulf Coast in breathing a sigh of relief now that the storm has passed.