Friday, August 29, 2008

Gulf Coast watches as storm decides

Virtually the entire central and western Gulf Coast is under a state of emergency this morning as local, state, and federal officials prepare for Gustav, and look beyond it to Tropical Storm Hanna, which is expected to quickly reach hurricane strength in the Atlantic.

Most forecasts late Thursday still anticipated a landfall on Tuesday between Morgan City and Houma, but there was a high degree of uncertainty over whether that prediction will hold up.

"This landfall forecast may be adjusted several more times before this weekend," according to Roger Erickson, warning coordinator with the Lake Charles weather office.

Gov. Bobby Jindal declared a state of emergency in Louisiana on Wednesday and asked President Bush to make a "pre-landfall" disaster declaration. He put 3,000 National Guard troops on alert for storm duty and said that as many as 1,500 of them could be deployed to New Orleans as early as today to help with security if an evacuation is required.

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