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Hurricane Gustav Hits Louisiana Before Weakening

September 2, 2008

Hurricane Gustav Hits Louisiana Before Weakening
Sept. 2, 2008 – After working its way through the Caribbean and wreaking havoc in Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Haiti and Jamaica, Hurricane Gustav came ashore in Louisiana early yesterday. Gustav weakened to a Category 2 hurricane before heading inland, but its winds still reached 120 miles an hour and rains pounded the Louisiana coast and New Orleans.

An update posted on the New Orleans Metro CVB Web site last night said: "New Orleans fared extremely well Monday during the heavy winds and rain of Hurricane Gustav. In an unusual turn of events, the capital city of Baton Rouge seemed harder hit as were many coastal parishes and parts of Acadiana. Over one million Louisiana families are without power all across the state, but 50 percent of New Orleans has power tonight. Though there was considerable loss of power, and minor flooding, the levees have held well with only minor overtopping in a couple of locations that will have limited duration effect. The thorough preparations paid off beautifully under real duress."

By last night, Gustav’s winds slowed to about 75 miles per hour and it had weakened to a Category 1 storm as it moved over Lafayette, Louisiana, en route to northeastern Texas. Gustav was downgraded to a tropical depression early Tuesday morning when winds fell to 35 mph. However, there remains a possibility that it will produce tornadoes in the Gulf Coast region.

In a prepared statement, U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff warned residents not to jump the gun on heading home. "This is not over,’ said Chertoff. "We don’t fully understand or appreciate the full extent of the damage. I want to underscore the importance of not rushing back to your homes.’

The storm forced nearly 2 million people to flee the Gulf Coast in one of the biggest evacuations in U.S. history and only 10,000 were believed to have remained in New Orleans. Gustav threatened more than 11 million residents in five states and is expected to end up dousing parts of Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas and Texas with between 12 and 20 inches of rain.

For more information on the status of things in each of the four states, click on the links to member Web sites:

  • Alabama
  • Louisiana
  • Mississippi
  • Texas
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