Nagin declared a mandatory evacuation that began at 8 a.m. Sunday for residents living on the west bank of the Mississippi River, and at noon for all other residents.
Gustav crossed western Cuba on Saturday and has already killed more than 80 people in the Caribbean. At 2 p.m. EDT Sunday, the National Hurricane Center said Gustav was a Category 3 storm centered about 270 miles southeast of the mouth of the Mississippi River and moving northwest near 17 mph. It had top sustained winds of around 115 mph. It had weakened slightly, but forecasters expected it to grow more intense by Monday. The storm could bring a surge of up to 20 feet to the coast and rainfall totals of up to 15 inches.
A hurricane warning was in effect for over 500 miles of Gulf coast from Cameron, La., near the Texas border to the Alabama-Florida state line. Alabama Gov. Bob Riley issued a mandatory evacuation order for some coastal areas of Mobile and Baldwin counties
Forecasters said the hurricane was most likely to strike the Gulf Coast on Monday. New Orleans could get winds of up to 73 m.p.h. and possibly greater.
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