Gulf Coast Largely Evacuated with Gustav Closing Fast

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

NEW ORLEANS -- The streets of New Orleans are largely empty Sunday night. Police and National Guard troops stand guard after the largest evacuation in Louisiana history.

The state's police commander thinks 90 percent of the population has fled the Louisiana coast, heeding warnings to get out ahead of Hurricane Gustav.

Governor Bobby Jindal has issued one last plea to the roughly 100,000 people still left along the coast. The storm is expected to strike around midday Monday and the governor says it's not too late to leave. Some people who had planned to shelter in place, changed their minds, not willing to risk the worst.

Louisiana and Mississippi temporarily changed traffic flow so all highway lanes led away from the coast and were packed bumper-to-bumper with cars. Stores and restaurants shut down, hotels closed and windows were boarded up.

Thousands more people have left coastal areas in Alabama and flood-prone southeast Texas.

Gustav was a Category Three storm with 115-mile-an-hour winds as it plowed its way across the Gulf Sunday but could gain strength before slamming ashore.

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