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Monday, September 1, 2008

GUSTAV & HANNA

The brutal memories of Katrina, which flooded 80 percent of New Orleans and killed more than 1,600 along the Gulf Coast, led officials to aggressively, insist that everyone in Gustav's path flee from shore. As the storm grew near, the streets of the city were empty — save for National Guardsmen and just about every officer on the city's police force standing watch for looters. In all, nearly 2 million people left south Louisiana, as did tens of thousands from coastal Mississippi, Alabama and southeastern Texas. Even presidential politics took a back seat to the storm, as the Republican Party scaled back its convention plans in deference to Gustav's threat. Mindful of the government's inept response to Katrina, President Bush scrapped his Monday appearance at the convention and instead headed to Texas, where emergency response personnel were getting ready. I guess he does NOT want to screw again. This Hurricane has killed @ least 94 people as it tore through the Caribbean and it will test three years of planning and rebuilding on the Gulf Coast following Katrina's wrath. Billions of dollars were at stake, as Gustav threatened industries ranging from sugar to shipping. If production is significantly interrupted from the region's refineries and offshore oil and gas platforms, price spikes could hit all Americans at the pump. Forecasters had expected Gustav to strengthen further before making landfall around midday, but early Monday they said the storm would hold steady as a Category 3. Katrina also made landfall as a strong Category 3, which carries sustained winds of between 111 mph and 130 mph. The city of Franklin, about 100 miles west of New Orleans, was bracing for a direct hit if Gustav stays on its current track. Dozens of sheriff's deputies, along with state troopers and guardsmen, waited at an emergency operations center inside the courthouse. An estimated three-quarter of the city's roughly 9,000 residents were evacuated for Gustav. For good reason: Three years ago, Hurricane Rita flooded up to 200 homes in the city. Tropical storm-force winds reached the southeastern tip of the state early Monday morning, but local officials said they had not received any distress calls or reports of unexpected flooding. In New Orleans, officials were anxiously watching to see what kind of storm surge the city could face: If forecasts hold, the city could experience a storm surge of only 4 to 6 feet, compared to a surge of 10 to 14 feet at the site of landfall, said Corey Walton, a hurricane support meteorologist with the National Hurricane Center. Katrina, by comparison, brought a storm surge of 25 feet, causing levees to break. While the Army Corps of Engineers has shored up some of the city's levee system since then, fears this time center on the city's West Bank, where levee repairs have not been completed. Fears of another Katrina led Nagin and Gov. Bobby Jindal to order a massive evacuation that succeeded in removing 90 percent of the population from southern Louisiana. It continued late into the evening hours Sunday, with Jindal issuing a final plea for evacuation by the estimated 100,000 people who decided to stay. The final train out of New Orleans left with fewer than 100 people on board, while one of the last buses to make the rounds of the city pulled into Union Station empty. Every officer in the department was on duty as police made their final rounds around 7 p.m. Gustav was the seventh named storm in the Atlantic hurricane season so with us coming into the MOST active time of the season I hope AND pray that all goes well.


The eighth, Tropical Storm Hanna, was strengthening about 100 miles from the Bahamas. Though a storm's track and intensity are difficult to predict days in advance, long-term projections showed the storm could come ashore along the border of Georgia and South Carolina late in the week. The islands feeling the effects Tropical Storm Hanna as of Sunday were Cat Island, the Exumas, Long Island, Rum Cay, San Salvador, Acklins, Crooked Island, Mayguana, Inagua, Ragged Island, Long Cay and Turks and Caicos Islands. The outer rain bands of the storm were also beginning to affect the Turks and Caicos Islands and islands in the Southeast Bahamas. The latest forecast on Hanna issued at 6:00 p.m. yesterday, outlined that the storm was located 140 miles of Grand Turk, 110 miles northeast of Mayaguana and about 352 miles east southeast of New Providence, according to meteorologists. The met office said Sunday that the storm was moving relatively slow at 10 miles per hour. It was expected to move westward Sunday night and then turn southwest on Tuesday. Therefore, residents in the area were warned AND told to take the necessary precautions to secure their outdoor properties and to pay close attention to the storm.



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