Mandatory evacuations have begun for New Orleans.
August 31, 2008 – 8:00 advisory from AccuWeather
Hurricane Gustav is a Category 3 hurricane with winds of 120 mph. At 8:00 a.m. EDT, the hurricane was 375 miles southeast of the mouth of the Mississippi River and 470 miles southeast of New Orleans
Gustav is expected to strengthen to back to a Category 4 hurricane later today. The storm will weaken slightly to Category 3 hurricane before making landfall late on Monday along the southwestern coast of Louisiana, most likely in Terrebonne or Lafourche parish.
A hurricane warning is in effect from Cameron, La., to the Alabama/Florida border, including New Orleans and Lake Pontchartrain.
A tropical storm warning and hurricane watch are in effect east of the Alabama/Florida border to the Ochlockonee River and from west of Cameron, La., to High Island, Texas.
Hurricane-force winds extend 70 miles from the storm center, with tropical storm-force winds extending 200 miles from the center. The estimated central pressure is 958 mb, or 28.29 inches.
Gustav is pulling away from Cuba and the 150-mph winds reported on the island are diminishing. One to three inches of rain is expected through Sunday night for the Florida Keys and extreme South Florida.
The brisk northwest movement of Gustav is expected to continue through today and tonight. This will bring tropical-storm conditions to the coast this evening and to New Orleans after midnight.
Hurricane conditions will develop on the Louisiana coast by early Monday morning and are possible in New Orleans by mid to late morning. A storm surge of 15-20 feet, with locally higher amounts, is expected on the Gulf coast near and just east of where the center makes landfall.
Although Louisiana is bracing for the worst effects from Gustav, residents from the upper Texas Coast to the western Florida Panhandle should pay close attention for any shifts in the forecast track.
Gustav is expected to slow significantly as it pushes inland, which could result in major flooding on Tuesday and Wednesday across inland Louisiana and eastern Texas.