The U.S. Gulf Coast states of Mississippi and Louisiana have declared states of emergency, in preparation for Hurricane Katrina, which is forecast to make landfall somewhere along the coast on Monday.

Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour and Louisiana's Kathleen Blanco issued the declarations as the dangerous hurricane strengthened over the warm Gulf waters Saturday and evacuations of low-lying areas began.

At last report, the 11th named storm of this year's Atlantic hurricane season was 628 kilometers southeast of the mouth of the Mississippi River. The slow-moving system had 185 kilometer-per-hour winds as it moved in a westerly direction.

Hurricane Katrina slammed into southeast Florida Thursday, leaving at least seven people dead. The storm caused widespread flooding, toppled trees and left about a million people without electricity. Insured losses from Katrina's first strike are now estimated at $1 billion.

Some information for this report provided by AFP and AP.