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August 30, 2008

Hurricane Gustav

gustav map 3.jpg

With Hurricane Gustavís landfall predicted for Monday night or early Tuesday morning, mandatory evacuations orders are being issued and transportation hubs have already been turned into evacuation points for residents of New Orleans.

Unlike 3 years ago when Katrina hit, authorities in Louisiana (led by new Republican Governor Bobby Jindal) are taking a far more active role in preparing for Hurricane Gustav.

New Orleans officials dispatched 40 city buses at 8 a.m. Saturday as part of a plan to evacuate an estimated 30,000 who could not get themselves out of harm's way. Similar scenarios played out in Jefferson, St. Bernard and Plaquemines.

State-chartered buses were in place at the Union Passenger Terminal in New Orleans and at other central sites across the suburbs to ferry residents out of low-lying areas en route to shelters in north Louisiana and Tennessee. Elderly and infirm residents were slated to board Amtrak trains to Memphis.

Jeb Tate, spokesman for the New Orleans Emergency Medical Services, said staffers would give each bus and train occupant a once-over to make sure they were fit for the trip, then fit each traveler with a green wristband.

"This is what we practice and train for, " Tate said, following his second trip into City Hall to unload all of his personal items. "We are ready for the duration of this storm."

Also in place at the downtown transit station were rows of Louisiana National Guard vehicles sent from across the state to guide the evacuation process and to protect property in an increasingly empty city. About a dozen news media trucks also had gathered in the parking lot.

In Jefferson Parish, a steady stream of cars and trucks, their headlights beaming, turned onto major thoroughfares and began pouring onto Interstate 10, even though the state's contraflow plan was not expected to go into effect for several more hours.

Despite the fact that the criticism of the federal response has been blown out of all proportions for the last 3 years (including by John McCain) itís good to see that lessons have been learned and competent leadership seems to be on top of things this time.

Yes, we could have a discussion about how itís not a federal (or even state or municipal) responsibility to get people the hell out the way of a hurricane but thatís not the world we live in.

As was the case during Katrina, the Times-Picayune in New Orleans is providing great coverage.

Good luck and best wishes to everyone in that area, especially any Gulf Cost morons. We're hoping for the best for you.

New map courtesy of Dave in Texas who likes pretty, shiny things.


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posted by DrewM. at 01:25 PM

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