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BREAKING 8-27-08 Katrina 3rd Anniversary-Could Gustav Repeat Hurricane's Hit on New Orleans?
Wednesday, Aug 27, 2008 12:24pm
BATON ROUGE, LA From CNN (By: Tom Pace, Talk of the Town) BREAKING WEATHER: 3pm 8-27-08  Talking about Tropical Storm Gustav, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal warned, "This is a serious storm. This could be a major storm. We anticipate it being in the southern Gulf in the next few days. We have to take it seriously." That means State and local officials planned for possible evacuations, and the National Guard was on standby." 

That cautionary statement to the media by Gov. Jindal was Tuesday, not only the day Hurricane Gustav hit the island of Haiti, but almost to the day, three years ago, when a Category 3 Katrina had New Orleans and the Gulf Coast in the cross-hairs of her sights. And the rest, they say, is history.  

Jindal announced at his press conference - he's mobilized the state's emergency Crisis Action Team, in preparations should Gustav evolve into a Katrina-like scenerio. 

That means a full-court press ahead of the storm. According to CNN, state and local officials planned for possible evacuations, and the National Guard was on standby.

Predicting hurricane paths is difficult, and forecasters warn that Gustav's destination is unknown. The National Hurricane Center's "track forecast cone" estimates the center of the storm could be anywhere between Key West, Florida, and the eastern end of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula by Saturday.

But to some New Orleanians, it appeared that their city was right in the middle of that wide target area. See a map of Gustav's projected path

"If it hits the city anywhere near how [Katrina] hit, no one's going to come back," Wilma Crochet told The Times-Picayune newspaper.

"My beautician told me she already booked an extra hotel room someplace up north called Branton, and we could stay there," Crochet told the newspaper as she shopped for emergency supplies in the New Orleans suburb of Metairie.

Officials stressed how uncertain the projections were so many days in advance, but urged residents to be ready for the worst. 

"Everybody should be looking at their plans, just like we're looking at our plans, and get ready," said Jerry Sneed, director of New Orleans' Office of Emergency Preparedness. "If they don't have a plan, you still have time. If you wait until the storm's on top of you, that's when panic's going to set in and you don't think wisely."

"They should update their evacuation plan," Jindal said. "They should fuel their vehicles in anticipation of any future evacuation. They should today make sure they've got enough food and water on hand for a three-day period."

The federal Department of Homeland Security on Wednesday added its voice to the chorus urging residents to prepare.

"Regardless of [Gustav's] predicted path, it is important for citizens in the Gulf Coast region to listen to what their local officials are advising over the course of the next few days and to take these simple steps to prepare," Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said in a prepared statement. "If residents make individual and family preparations, they make it easier for first responders to focus on people who can't help themselves and need help first."

New Orleans estimated about 30,000 residents would need help evacuating, Sneed said. He said only 7,000 people have signed up so far to get that help.

He said buses and trains were ready to take evacuees to shelters in Shreveport, Alexandria, and Monroe

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