Hurricane warnings and mandatory evacuations are now in place for southern Mississippi as well as southeast Louisiana, which includes the city of New Orleans. Hurricane Gustav which had weakened somewhat,remains at a category 3 and is still a major storm. Forecasters have advised that Gustav could strengthen over the next 12 to 24 hours with the possibility of becoming a category 4 before reaching landfall early Monday morning. This dangerous storm was located about 225 miles from the mouth of the Mississippi and was moving at approximately 17 mph., packing winds in excess of 115 mph.
Chief of the Louisiana State Police, Mike Edmondson, stated that nearly 90 percent of residents living along the coast had left, making it the largest evacuation in state history.
Mayor Ray Nagin of New Orleans has implemented a dawn-to- dusk curfew for the city, to help guard against looting. Nagin made it very clear anyone caught would go directly to jail. He also issued a stern warning to those who would not heed the warnings to evacuate, that they were "on their own." A skeleton crew of less than 50 police officers and emergency workers would stay behind and that no emergency services would be offered to anyone who had decided to stay. Mayor Nagin not only stressed how dangerous a storm this was but referred to it as "the storm of the century," and this was not the storm that persons should stay and ride out, but that everyone should "get their butts out now." Hopefully, all will have listened.