Firefighter killed clearing storm debris from Nate

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

(Mississippi Power photo)

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 Monday.

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.

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.

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.