Louisiana communities are on alert as Tropical Storm Gustav makes its way across Jamaica and toward the Gulf Coast. Roger Erickson from the National Weather Service stressed that with the storm still far from Louisiana, it is very hard to predict what it will do.
Louisiana communities are on alert as Tropical Storm Gustav makes its way across Jamaica and toward the Gulf Coast.
Roger Erickson from the National Weather Service stressed that with the storm still far from Louisiana, it is very hard to predict what it will do.
"It's going to be speeding up. Right now it's very slow ... expect it to speed up over the next couple of days as it comes barreling towards the Gulf of Mexico at about 10 or 15 miles per hour," Erickson said Thursday during a meeting in Lake Charles, which is about 200 miles west of New Orleans on the Gulf Coast.
"Right now it's a very small storm; the reality of it is, as it comes into the Gulf of Mexico, it'll become a much stronger hurricane. A lot of times these hurricanes go through something called the 'Eyewall Replacement Cycle.' While they are doing that, they'll intensify to a category 4 or 5, then down and up again, and while they do that they get a lot larger."
Dick Gremillion, director at the Office of Homeland Security Emergency Preparedness, said there is a lot of uncertainty associated with the storm's path, including whether there will be evacuations.
"Everyone needs to be prepared to make those decisions," Gremillion said. "What we suggest is that [the public] go ahead and make those decisions now, have a time in mind to make those decisions when you need to, so that you can do that when the time comes."
Gremillion advised residents to keep a watch on local media.
"The critical day, based on the current forecast, will be Saturday for us. Maybe [Friday] there could be some decisions made, but Saturday, obviously, we're going to have to make some hard decisions on what would transpire on Sunday and Monday," Gremillion said.
The state has contracted 700 coach buses to assist with transportation wherever the storm may hit.
In Lake Charles, the Civic Center was to be the collection point for those wishing to use the buses in the event of a storm; however, due to an event being held at the Civic Center this weekend, the collection point was moved to Chennault, at the Purple Heart Center.
Southwest Daily News