News

Louisiana Prepares for Possible Hurricane in Coming Days

Multimedia

Audio

Hurricane Gustav, which killed at least 22 people in Haiti, is now headed south of Cuba, but forecasters believe the storm will move north into the Gulf of Mexico by early next week and threaten a coastal area that stretches from Texas to the Florida panhandle. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the projected path of the storm puts New Orleans in the bulls eye and people in Louisiana are watching it with concern.

On Friday, Louisiana will observe the third anniversary of one of the state's greatest tragedies, Hurricane Katrina. That devastating hurricane, which caused massive flooding in New Orleans, was followed a few weeks later by Hurricane Rita, which devastated the western coast of the state and areas of east Texas.

Even though it is far too early to say where Gustav may make landfall, state officials are taking every precaution and trying to prepare the population for the worst.

"Especially since Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, we take every storm seriously," said Veronica Mosgrove of the Louisiana Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness Office. "This one does seem that it is going to be a threat and so we are in constant communication with our local, state and federal partners and have our plan in place to roll out whatever we need to roll out at whatever time we need to do so."

One of the key points in the Louisiana emergency plan is an evacuation schedule that relies on hundreds of buses, trains and airplanes, in addition to the private vehicles that can be used to move people out of the threatened zone. Mosgrove says assets are in place and state officials will begin implementing the evacuation using a detailed plan.

"Fifty hours from when it is projected that there will be tropical storm or hurricane-force winds felt in the area, that is when we determine when to call for the evacuation," she said.

She says communities along the coast that are in the path of the storm will be evacuated first, then with 40 hours remaining before landfall, New Orleans and areas farther inland will be evacuated. At 30 hours, the next tier of populated areas will be evacuated.

Veronica Mosgrove says more about the possible trajectory of the storm should be known by this weekend, which includes the Monday Labor Day holiday. She says it is important that residents in southern Louisiana stay informed about the storm's progress.

"This is a holiday weekend so we are asking people to pay attention to weather forecasts and news so that they can be ready in the event that there is an evacuation called for," she said.

New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin cut short his attendance at the Democratic National Convention in Denver in order to return home and work on storm preparations. Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, a Republican, is scheduled to appear at his party's convention in St. Paul, Minnesota next week, but his office says he will not make a final decision on his plans until later this week when more information about the hurricane threat is available.
 

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs