National Hurricane Center Update: "Preparations to Protect Life and Property should be Rushed to Completion"
As residents of New Orleans and other coastal communities in Mississippi and Louisiana were evacuating inland, a National Hurricane Center Public Advisory released at 10 AM CDT (1500 UTC) Sunday, August 31 reported that "Gustav continues northwestward over the central Gulf of Mexico with little change in strength." It continued:
"A hurricane warning remains in effect for the northern Gulf Coast from Cameron, Louisiana eastward to the Alabama-Florida border, including the city of New Orleans and Lake Pontchartrain. A hurricane warning means that hurricane conditions are expected within the warning area within the next 24 hours. Preparations to protect life and property should be rushed to completion.
"A tropical storm warning remains in effect from east of the Alabama-Florida border to the Ochlocknee River....and from west of Cameron, Louisiana to just east of high island Texas. A Tropical Storm warning means that tropical storm conditions are expected within the warning area within the next 24 hours.
"A hurricane watch remains in effect from west of Cameron, Louisiana to just east of High Island, Texas. A hurricane watch means that hurricane conditions are possible within the watch area...generally within 36 hours.
"A tropical storm warning remains in effect for the lower Florida Keys west of the seven mile bridge to the Dry Tortugas.
"For storm information specific to your area...including possible Inland watches and warnings...please monitor products issued by your local weather office.
"At 1000 AM CDT...1500Z...the center of Hurricane Gustav was located near latitude 25.3 north...longitude 86.0 west or about 325 miles...520 km...southeast of the mouth of the Mississippi river.
"Gustav is moving toward the northwest near 17 mph...28 km/hr. This general motion is expected to continue with a decrease in forward speed during the next couple of days. On forecast track...Gustav should make landfall on the northern Gulf Coast on Monday.
"Maximum sustained winds are near 120 mph...195 km/hr...with higher gusts. Gustav is a category three hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Scale. Some re-intensification is forecast during the next 12 to 24 hours...and Gustav could regain category four strength later today or tonight. Fluctuations in strength are likely thereafter...but Gustav is forecast to remain a major hurricane until landfall.
"Gustav is a large tropical cyclone. Hurricane force winds extend outward up to 50 miles...85 km...from the center...and Tropical Storm force winds extend outward up to 200 miles...325 km.
"The minimum central pressure just reported by a NOAA hurricane hunter aircraft is 962 mb...28.41 inches.
"An extremely dangerous storm surge of 12 to 16 feet above normal tidal levels is expected near and to the east of where the center of Gustav crosses the northern Gulf Coast. A storm surge of 1 to 3 feet above normal tide levels is possible in the Dry Tortugas as Gustav passes to its west.
"Gustav is expected to produce total rainfall accumulations of 6 to 12 inches over portions of Louisiana, southern Mississippi and southern Arkansas...with isolated maximum amounts of up to 20 inches possible through Wednesday morning. Additional rainfall amounts of about an inch are possible over the Florida Keys and South Florida.
"Isolated tornadoes are possible over the central Gulf Coast later today and tonight."