|08-30-2008, 01:10 PM||#1|
Ring of Famer
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: West River
Gustav a Cat4 and building
This has all the makings. I've got family in Mobile, heres to hoping them and everyone else's families stay safe. Batten down the hatches boys!
Gustav swells to dangerous Cat 4 storm off Cuba By WILL WEISSERT, Associated Press Writer
50 minutes ago
HAVANA - Gustav swelled into a fearsome Category 4 hurricane with winds of 145 mph on Saturday as Cuba raced to evacuate more than 240,000 people and Americans to the north clogged highways fleeing New Orleans.
Gustav already has killed 78 people in the Caribbean and the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami said it could strengthen even more after hitting Cuba and entering the warm Gulf of Mexico on a projected course for the Katrina-battered U.S. coast.
Cuba grounded all national airline fights, though planes bound for international destinations were still taking off at Havana's Jose Marti International Airport. Authorities also canceled all buses and trains to and from the capital, as well as ferry and air service to the Isla de Juventud, the outlying Cuban island-province next in Gustav's path.
Heavy winds had already felled mango and almond trees and were shaking the roofs of buildings in the province, said Ofilia Hernandez, who answered a community telephone near downtown Nueva Gerona, Isla de la Juventud's largest city.
"Everyone's at home. It's getting very ugly," she said. "All night last night there was wind, but not like now. Now it's very strong. Things are starting to fall down."
The government's AIN news agency said officials were evacuating some 190,000 people from low-lying parts of tobacco-rich Pinar del Rio province on the western tip of Cuba's main island. AIN reported that 50,000 already had been evacuated further east.
Stiff winds whipped intermittent rains across Havana, where police officers in blue and orange rain coats supervised workers removing stones, tree branches and other debris from the storied beachfront Malecon, as angry waves crashed against the sea wall below.
Some shuttered stores had hand-scrawled "closed for evacuation" signs plastered to their doors. At others, small lines formed as residents stocked up on bread. Cars waiting to fill up their tanks stretched into the street outside some gas stations.
"It's very big and we've got to get ready for what's coming," said Jesus Hernandez, a 60-year-old retiree who was using an electric drill to reinforce the roof of his rickety front porch.
The U.S. naval base at Guantanamo, Cuba, was hundreds of miles to the east, out of the storm's path.
Gustav rolled over the Cayman Islands Friday with fierce winds that tore down trees and power lines while destroying docks and tossing boats ashore on Little Cayman Island, but there was little major damage and no deaths were reported.
By midday Saturday, Gustav was about 185 miles east of the western tip of Cuba and just 55 miles east-southeast of the Isla de Juventud. It was expected to be moving northwest near 14 mph.
Hurricane force winds extended out 60 miles in some places.
Haiti's Interior Ministry on Saturday raised the hurricane death toll there to 66 from 59. Gustav also killed eight people in the Dominican Republic and four in Jamaica.
Gustav could strike the U.S. Gulf coast anywhere from the Florida Panhandle to Texas, but forecasters said there was an increasing chance that New Orleans will get slammed by at least tropical-storm-force winds, three years after devastating Hurricane Katrina.
People began pouring out of the city along the highways and the government announced plans for broader evacuations. The Federal Emergency Management Agency said it expects a "huge number" of Gulf Coast residents will be told to leave the region this weekend.
As much as 80 percent of the Gulf of Mexico's oil and gas production could be shut down as a precaution if Gustav enters as a major storm, weather research firm Planalytics predicted. Oil companies have already evacuated hundreds of workers from offshore platforms.
Retail gas prices rose Friday for the first time in 43 days as analysts warned that a direct hit on Gulf energy infrastructure could send pump prices hurtling toward $5 a gallon. Crude oil prices ended slightly lower in a volatile session as some traders feared supply disruptions and others bet the U.S. government will release supplies from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.
Meanwhile, the hurricane center said Tropical Storm Hanna was projected to near the Turks and Caicos Islands late Sunday or on Monday, then curl through the Bahamas by early next week before possibly threatening Cuba.
It had sustained winds near 50 mph Saturday and the hurricane center warned that it could kick up dangerous rip currents along parts of the southeastern U.S. coast.
|08-30-2008, 01:47 PM||#2|
Join Date: May 2001
Location: Elway was just an arm =MacGruder
i think the people of N.O. will take this a little more serious this go around ...... No Hurricane parties this time
|08-30-2008, 03:32 PM||#4|
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Arcadia, CA
This is the latest set of models I just got off the Drudge Report. That doesnt
look good. At all. Seems like it isnt heading as west as it looked like it was going to from yesterday's reports. It looks like a direct hit on NO.
|08-30-2008, 03:37 PM||#5|
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Twixt Hell & Highwater
This just really sucks. I hope everybody clears out. I know people in Gulfport who lost everything in Katrina. It's just tragic. Let's hope this thing loses power.
Last edited by Rohirrim; 08-30-2008 at 03:39 PM..
|08-30-2008, 07:47 PM||#6|
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Arcadia, CA
August 31, 2008
New Orleans Residents Are Ordered to Flee Hurricane
By ADAM NOSSITER and SHAILA DEWAN
NEW ORLEANS — City officials ordered everyone to leave New Orleans beginning Sunday morning — the first mandatory evacuation since Hurricane Katrina flooded the city three years ago — as Hurricane Gustav grew into what the city’s mayor called “the storm of the century” on Saturday and moved toward the Louisiana coast.
Mayor C. Ray Nagin said Gustav was larger and more dangerous than Katrina, and pleaded with residents to get out or face enormous flooding and life-threatening winds.
“This is the mother of all storms, and I’m not sure we’ve seen anything like it,” he said at an evening news briefing. “This is the real deal, this is not a test. For everyone thinking they can ride this storm out, I have news for you: that will be one of the biggest mistakes you can make in your life.”
The mayor’s warnings were considerably more dramatic than the forecasts issued by the National Hurricane Center, and he may have been trying to shock jaded residents into taking prudent steps. But he said storm surges, particularly on the city’s West Bank, could be twice as high as the neighborhood’s 10-foot levees, and said those choosing to remain in their homes should have an axe to chop through their roof when the floodwaters rise.
The storm, he said, was now 900 miles wide, compared with 400 miles for Katrina. Even the capital of Baton Rouge, 80 miles inland from New Orleans, could experience hurricane force winds of up to 100 m.p.h., he said. But Dennis Feltgen, a spokesman for the National Hurricane Center, said he had no idea what the mayor meant by a 900-mile footprint, saying that hurricane force winds do not extend nearly that far.
Already, hundreds of thousands of residents had begun streaming north from New Orleans and other Gulf Coast areas stretching from the Florida panhandle to Houston. Most left by car, causing miles of backups on some highways, but New Orleans officials also began a far more carefully planned evacuation of the city’s less mobile residents than took place in 2005. Thousands of city residents began boarding buses and trains ferrying them to shelters in the north.
“I don’t want to be stuck like I was in Katrina,” said Janice McElveen, who was waiting for a bus in the Irish Channel section, recalling being stranded on the Interstate 10 bridge for five days in 2005.
In the Central City section, families, elderly people and the visibly infirm — those with wheelchairs and canes — lined the sidewalk along Dryades Street for half a long block, waiting for a bus. “After going through Katrina, that ain’t no joke,” said Jody Anderson, an unemployed former cashier, who spent seven days in the fetid conditions of the Superdome following that storm. “It’s not worth it, trying to stay.”
The city was expected to get at least tropical-storm-force winds from Hurricane Gustav by Monday. By Saturday afternoon the storm had strengthened into a Category 4 hurricane with winds of up to 145 miles per hour as it moved over Cuba toward the Gulf of Mexico, and forecasters said it was most likely to strike the Louisiana coast southwest of here early Tuesday. New Orleans could get winds of up to 73 m.p.h., and possibly greater. Forecasters said Hurricane Gustav could become a Category 5 storm, the strongest designation on the scale.
The hurricane could arrive on American shores just as the Republican National Convention is beginning in Minnesota, and officials were considering whether they should make changes to the program. Bush administration officials took pains not to be caught as flatfooted as they were in Hurricane Katrina. President Bush called governors around the region to assure them of assistance, the White House said, and top federal emergency officials were positioned in the region to guide the response. Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana and Gov. Rick Perry of Texas announced they would not attend the convention and would remain in their states during the storm.
In Washington, White House officials were considering whether to reschedule Mr. Bush’s trip to the convention, where he is set to speak Monday on the opening night.
Senator John McCain, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, in an interview taped for “Fox News Sunday,” said the convention program might be reduced or suspended for a day or two if the storm turned out to be destructive.
In a mandatory evacuation of New Orleans, residents are not physically forced to leave, but are subject to arrest outside their houses. Officials have also warned that anyone who chooses to stay, as many jaded city residents are expected to do, will not be able to rely on public agencies for emergency assistance.
City officials estimated that 30,000 people may need the bus and train service. One train carried about 1,500 people to Memphis, and 22 buses, with more than 1,100 passengers, had left the city by Saturday afternoon for shelters in Alexandria, Shreveport and other northern Louisiana locations.
Officials made an effort to soothe concerns about looting. Mr. Nagin noted that with 1,500 to 2,000 National Guard troops coming to New Orleans, the city would have twice as much law enforcement protection as it had in the days after Hurricane Katrina. In all, 7,000 members of the Louisiana National Guard were mobilized Friday.
Jackie Clarkson, the president of the City Council, said the evacuation was proceeding more smoothly than any she had seen before.
“We can save everybody this time,” Ms. Clarkson said.
The state police on Saturday reported moderately heavy traffic on a principal highway north, Interstate 55, though local news reports indicated that jams had already formed on some roads.
Dozens of people waited outside for buses at 17 collection points all over New Orleans to take them to the Union Passenger Terminal, the train station downtown. From there they would be taken by bus and train to cities in north Louisiana — Shreveport, Alexandria and Monroe — and to Memphis. They clutched duffle bags, plastic shopping sacks, small children and overstuffed suitcases, vowing to avoid at all costs the still-vivid nightmare of Hurricane Katrina.
The buses arrived promptly at 8 a.m. — a sharp contrast to the chaos and disorganization of three years ago, when the only plan was to jam thousands of people without cars into the Superdome and let others fend for themselves.
“I refuse to go through that again,” said Roxanne Clayton, a photo technician at Walgreens, who was waiting in the Irish Channel neighborhood with her teenage son and 10-year-old daughter. Ms. Clayton recalled being stuck in her attic for two days during Hurricane Katrina. “I’d rather play it safe than sorry, because I know what sorry feels like,” Ms. Clayton said.
A neighbor from the larger houses up Louisiana Avenue brought doughnuts for those patiently waiting, and many said they were simply grateful for the ride out of town.
State officials prepared an elaborate contraflow system, reversing all lanes of a highway so they lead out of Southern Louisiana beginning Sunday morning. Officials were staging the plans so that those farthest south could exit first. In St. Bernard Parish, just east of New Orleans, officials ordered a mandatory evacuation beginning at 4 p.m. Saturday, warning residents that curfews would be enforced. The parish was one of the hardest hit in Hurricane Katrina, and many of its residents never returned. Similar orders were given in the parishes of Plaquemines, St. Charles and lower Jefferson, southwest of New Orleans.
Hurricane Gustav, which has already killed 81 people in the Caribbean, lashed the western tip of Cuba on Saturday, and the Associated Press reported that 240,000 people were being evacuated from the area. Forecasts of its track said it could strike the United States mainland from the Florida Panhandle on the east to the Texas coast, though the center of the track remained the Louisiana coast well west of New Orleans. Whatever its exact landing point, storm surges could cause serious damage throughout the region.
Mr. Feltgen, of the National Hurricane Center, emphasized the uncertainty of forecasted landfalls at midday Saturday. “New Orleans will be impacted, but to what degree we don’t know,” Mr. Feltgen said. If the center of the storm passes more than 60 miles from the city, “they may not expect hurricane force winds.”
That New Orleans will most likely be east of the center, on “the dirty side of the storm,” means large amounts of rain. In addition, Mr. Feltgen said, there is “potential for a significant storm surge. We don’t know how much, or where.”
A Louisiana State University scientist who has been tracking the storm said that the area at greatest risk, under present forecasts, was not New Orleans, but the low-population district between Houma and Lafayette on the state’s south-central coast. “It’s just like Rita. It’s more of a rural storm than an urban storm,” said Robert Twilley, a professor of oceanography and coastal sciences.
Experts say that the New Orleans hurricane defenses have been strengthened significantly since the city was devastated by Hurricane Katrina, but the city is still not yet ready to take the punch from a major hurricane.
“The system itself is stronger than it was before Katrina,” said Maj. Timothy J. Kurgan, the chief of the public affairs office for the Army Corps of Engineers in New Orleans. He acknowledged, however, that the defenses that the corps has been designing and putting into place to withstand what is known as 100-year flooding are under construction and are only 20 percent complete. While some $2 billion has been spent so far to patch and upgrade the system, the $13 billion construction program that is designed to bring the city full protection against the kind of flooding that has a one percent chance of occurring in any given year is not scheduled to be complete until 2011.
“It’s a huge undertaking,” he said, and “we’ve made great strides. But we’re not there by any stretch of the imagination.”
In particular, floodgates have been constructed at the end of city drainage canals leading to Lake Pontchartrain, the principal conduits for the fateful surge during Hurricane Katrina. Still, there is no such arrangement on the Industrial Canal, the surge from which destroyed the still-empty Lower Ninth Ward.
In terms of preparation for Hurricane Gustav, Major Kurgan said, the corps has workers ready to enter its hardened shelters at the floodgates and to respond quickly and in force once the storm has passed. “The Corps of Engineers is ready for this storm,” he said, and will be “able to address whatever this storm brings to us.”
Some institutions — hospitals and nursing homes, where many died during Hurricane Katrina — were taking no chances, already ferrying patients north of the area on Friday.
Amber Hebert of the state transportation department said that 14,000 people had registered for the evacuation program and that about 150 buses were already in use, with 300 school buses to be pressed into service by Saturday afternoon.
At the St. Claude Car Wash, a line of cars stretched down the street, waiting to get leaky tires repaired and flats replaced for the drive out of town. Barry Martin, a United Parcel Service worker waiting, said it was the shortest of several lines he had seen. His vehicle was empty of luggage; Mr. Martin said he would leave Sunday morning, picking his destination based on which direction had the lightest traffic. “If everyone’s heading west,” he said, “I’m going to go to Florida.”
For others here, the party was not yet over. Troy Meryhew, in town for Southern Decadence, a festival for gay men and lesbians, said the storm had had little effect on the gathering — except for the sawing and hammering as his hotel boarded up windows. He said his flight on Monday was still scheduled to depart, and the hotel was staying open. “As long as our hotel’s open and there’s liquor, we’re fine,” Mr. Meryhew said.
Michelle Barnes, a French Quarter resident, was nearly in tears, worried that she would not be allowed on the bus with her little dog, Jack, who was resting in a black canvas bag. Evacuees had been instructed to keep their pets in a carrying case, but Ms. Barnes did not have one. “I just hope,” Ms. Barnes said, “because otherwise I won’t leave.”
John Schwartz contributed reporting.
|08-30-2008, 07:52 PM||#7|
Join Date: May 2001
Location: Elway was just an arm =MacGruder