Image: Traffic backs up along westbound Interstate 10, as residents of the New Orleans area evacuate due to the threat of Hurricane Gustav. (Brian Lawdermilk/Associated Press)
Immediate Evacuation Ordered
Deadly Storm Approaches
The first of two mandatory evacuations of New Orleans was being carried out Sunday morning as people along Louisiana's coastline prepared for the arrival of Hurricane Gustav, now moving over the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center said Gustav weakened slightly overnight to a Category 3 storm, but was expected to regain strength and possibly become a top-scale Category 5 hurricane later in the day. The centre predicts it will hit Louisiana late Monday or early Tuesday.
Even after slowing, Gustav's top wind speed was measured near 195 km/h before sunrise Sunday.
Gustav howled into Cuba's tobacco-growing western tip as a catastrophic Category 4 hurricane on Saturday while both Cubans and Americans on the Gulf Coast scrambled to flee the path of the fast-growing storm.Forecasters said Gustav was just short of becoming a top-scale Category 5 hurricane as it hit Cuba's mainland after passing over its Isla de la Juventud province, where screaming 150 mph winds toppled telephone poles, mango and almond trees and peeled back the tin roofs of homes.
Skywatch-Media News which operates this website is located in Baton Rouge, La. Due to the approaching storm Gustav which is expected to severely affect power supply, we anticipate that this website and our news services will be down for days and possibly for a week or more. As soon as power is restored to our area, we will continue with our news services. We hope that all those in the path of this destructive storm will remain safe and secure, and that all those in harms way will evacuate to a safer location.