DAUPHIN ISLAND, Ala. (AP) — The mayor of a coastal Alabama community says its recovery after Hurricane Nate is expected to ramp up now that a disaster declaration has been issued.

Dauphin Island Mayor Jeff Collier says recovery efforts on the island can "get started in earnest" now that five counties in Alabama are eligible for federal assistance.

Dauphin Island said in a statement that Thursday's disaster declaration by the Federal Emergency Management Agency could save the town as much as 85 percent of its $5.5 million damage estimate. Much of that money will be spent to put mountains of beach sand back in place.

Hurricane Nate struck the Alabama Gulf Coast as a Category 1 storm on the weekend of Oct. 7-8.