What fourteen hours does in the life of a hurricane. At 10pm Central last night Gustav was a mere Category One storm with 80mph winds that NOAA was predicting would not strengthen to Category 3 125mph winds until after hitting Cuba. Now Gustav has 125mph winds and has not hit Cuba though that is only a couple hours away. Once Gustav passes over Cuba and enters the Gulf of Mexico, NOAA is now predicting it will strengthen to a Category 4 storm with 140mph winds. Then it will slowly loose power and be a Cat 3 storm at landfall.
For the past twenty-four hours landfall has consistently been predicted to be Four League on the south Louisiana coast followed by full landfall at Vermilion Bayou. What has shifted some is the exact landfall and times. Now initial landfall is going to be about 7pm Monday night followed going ashore at Vermilion at 1am Tuesday. After this, Gustav is predicted to track northwest and pass by Shreveport.
Gov. Jindal has already declared a state of emergency for Louisiana, this was done by Thursday. I have even heard reports of evacuation and bus schedules being posted in New Orleans. President Bush has already declared emergencies for Louisiana and Texas, FEMA is already prepositioning for the storm. So is the military. Will President Bush attend the Republican Convention, that is to be determined; Gustav is driving that decision. Gov. Jindal has already cancelled his appearance at the convention.
As for the people in Mississippi. They are also getting prepared in case NOAA and their models are wrong. My parents are still waiting and seeing on the Gulf Coast, they live a few miles inland from the beach and missed Katrina's fury. In the state capital of Jackson on Wednesday, people were already lining up and filling plastic 5-gallon jugs with fuel. There is such a demand, Thursday morning the price of regular gas jumped 20 cents and as of today, its still that high as people keep stocking up on gas. Katrina's shutting gas stations down for over a week have made people skittish it seems, with reason. Though putting 30 gallons of gas in plastic cans into the trunk of a Buick is a bit dangerous.