New Orleans Braces for Gustav as Katrina Anniversary Looms

Three years after Katrina, people in New Orleans are ready to evacuate again

Two days ahead of the third anniversary of Katrina's tragic assault on the city of New Orleans, Gustav continues on its course towards the Gulf of Mexico. Some are warning that it could pack a similar punch and authorities are already getting evacuation plans in place.

"The forecasts have Gustav heading for Louisiana, which is very bad news," said Peter Beutel, president of energy consultant Cameron Hanover Inc., told Bloomberg News. "If the storm track holds, this could shape up to be an untimely repeat of Hurricane Katrina."

After making landfall in Haiti yesterday, the storm was weakened to tropical storm status, but is expected to regain hurricane strength by Thursday, says

"Be ready, now's the time to review your plans," Gov. Bobby Jindal warned the Louisiana National Guard, reports the New Orleans Times-Picayune. "This is a serious storm."

Jindal is meeting with his unified command group and the state's catastrophic action team has been put on alert.

Additionally, the state has as many as 700 buses at the ready for evacuations, 10,000 critical care beds and 68,000 regular beds, and plans are in place to begin contra-flow, the turning all major highways lanes of away from the storm, by Saturday.

Meanwhile, New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin is heading home from the Democratic National Convention in Denver to make sure the city is ready for whatever comes its way.

"I've been monitoring the storm," Nagin told the Times-Picayune. "We're in the cone of probability. Once (Gustav) gets into the Gulf of Mexico, we only have about 72 hours max (to decide on evacuation). I think it's best that I go back and leave the convention."

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