On the third anniversary of Katrina, Gustav is projected to become a potential category 5 hurricane as it passes over the warmer Gulf waters on a path that includes New Orleans as a possible landfall target.
Gustav churns toward the U.S. Gulf Coast on a similar path to Katrina (see below). Residents in its projected path have been warned to either evacuate or to prepare to do so. New Orleans has made the evacuation order mandatory.
The infamous SuperDome (now renamed) is not intended as a shelter this time. The Humane Society reminds residents to take their pets with them; not to leave them as so many were left with Katrina and/or to stay behind with them, if they are headed to buses and shelters provided for evacuation. For buses that are headed to emergency flights, there are some limitations on pets. Citizens should check with pet shelters about their animals if that is their only way out for other modes of transportation that have been instructed to allow evacuees' pets to accompany them.
Offshore oil rigs have been evacuated, as well and oil and gas prices in the region have risen in anticipation of the possible shortfalls (and possible gauging).
With the cone of possible landfall sites still in flux (<--see graph), it is uncertain exactly where Gustav will strike. The damage in the Caribbean thus far, over 80 killed and many more left homeless, points to a severe event.
Mayor Ray Nagin of New Orleans, in issuing the mandatory evacuation order, warned his residents to 'be scared' and referred to Gustav as "The Storm of the Century."
The high temperature of the Gulf waters means it is likely that the impact could be even severe to catastrophic, depending on where it hits, the upper atmosphere wind shear patterns and how much time it has to draw strength from the warmed gulf waters.
Two more storms are building behind Gustav... Continued...