Fort Worth, TX (WiredPRNews.com)—The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association projects that tropical storm Gustav will turn into Hurricane Gustav within hours and hit Louisiana, somewhere between New Orleans and Beaumont, Texas on Labor Day.
As of 5:00 pm CST, tropical storm Gustav was moving northwest at six miles an hour, toward the western end of Cuba. As the storm hammered Jamaica on Thursday, it left 59 dead in Haiti and the Dominican Republic. The deaths, according to AP, were due to falling trees, flooding and mudslides after Gustav drenched the two-nation island with heavy rain.
The timing of the Gustav is ominous since August 29th is the third anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, which pummeled New Orleans and killed over 1,800 people. Assuming that Gustav moves as predicted, the Hurricane would hit Louisiana three years and three days after Katrina.
Western Cuba is already under a hurricane watch as Gustav is forecast to hit the island nation early Saturday morning. Current maximum sustained winds in Jamaica are 70 mph, just 4 miles and hour short of category one hurricane status. The Cayman Islands are projected to receive the fury of the hurricane sometime on Friday.
The Associated Press reports that Texas and Louisiana have their national guards on standby and that a mandatory evacuation of New Orleans may be necessary. Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal has declared a state of emergency, which sets the groundwork for federal assistance if the worst happens.