Gulf Coast Residents Prepare For Worst

As Hurricane Gustav churns towards the Gulf Coast, residents from Texas to Florida are preparing for the worst. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal asked all residents along the coast to evacuate.

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JACKI LYDEN, host:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Jacki Lyden.

Governor BOBBY JINDAL (Republican, Louisiana): It's not time to panic. It is not time to be fearful. The state, with its local and federal partners, has a plan. Now it's time for each family out there to execute their own plan. Now is the time, without delay, to get in their vehicle, get out of harm's way, head north.

LYDEN: Hundreds of thousands of people heeded that warning today from Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal and headed north. Hurricane Gustav is speeding up and bearing down on the Gulf Coast. Gustav has already killed 85 people, mostly in Haiti. The storm weakened slightly today, but winds are still howling at 115 miles an hour.

Forecasters say it could be a Category Three storm when it makes landfall west of New Orleans, some time tomorrow. That's just as strong as Katrina was when it hit the shore three years ago, flooding New Orleans, battering Mississippi and killing nearly 2,000 people.

Gustav's impact is being felt as far away as St. Paul, Minnesota, where Republicans are scaling down their convention.

President GEORGE W. BUSH: In light of these events, I will not be going to Minnesota for the Republican National Convention.

LYDEN: Both President Bush and Vice President Cheney have canceled their opening-night speeches, and the party's soon-to-be nominees, John McCain and Sarah Palin, visited evacuees and rescue workers in Mississippi today.

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