Image: Graphic shows the projected path of Hurricane Gustav
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — On the cusp of Hurricane Katrina's third anniversary, nervous Gulf Coast residents watched Wednesday as a storm threatened to strengthen and crash ashore, testing everything the city has rebuilt.
Forecasters warned that Gustav had the potential to grow into a perilous Category 3 hurricane and approach the Gulf Coast by Monday morning — though cautioned that a storm's track and intensity are extremely difficult to predict several days in advance.
"We know it's going to head into the Gulf. After that, we're not sure where it's heading," said Rebecca Waddington, a meteorologist at the National Hurricane Center. "For that reason, everyone in the Gulf needs to be monitoring the storm."
City officials were taking no chances, and drawing blueprints of how to evacuate the city if necessary. New Orleans plans to institute a mandatory evacuation order should a Category 3 or stronger hurricane be within 72 hours of the city.
PORT-AU-PRINCE (Reuters) - Tropical Storm Gustav drifted away from Haiti and the Dominican Republic on Wednesday after killing 22 people and was set to become a dangerously powerful hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico oil fields.