In anticipation of the oncoming storm, New Orleans has begun voluntary evacuations. The city has also begun evacuating those in need of assistance and those without transportation. As opposed to the issues with Katrina, this time there will be no shelters of last resort. The Superdome will be locked and the police will arrest anyone found outside after the evacuation is complete.
This time there will be no shelter of last resort – the doors to the Superdome will be locked. Those who ignore orders to leave the city of more than 300,000 accept "all responsibility for themselves and their loved ones," an official has warned. A curfew is planned that calls for the arrest of anyone still on the streets after a mandatory evacuation order goes out.
FEMA Deputy Administrator Harvey Johnson said Friday that he anticipates that a "huge number" of Gulf Coast residents will be told to leave the area this weekend. Those most in need of help – the elderly, the sick, and those without transportation – are to be moved first. New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin said buses and trains will begin to evacuate those people beginning early this morning. Those on buses will go to shelters farther north. Those on trains will go to Memphis, Tenn. Neighboring states already were offering to house evacuees.
Counterflow lanes out of the city will likely be opened on Sunday.
The computer models have all converged with a landfall on the central Louisiana coast. This puts the rough northeast quadrant right over the city with the storm reaching land sometime between early Tuesday morning and Wednesday night. Evacuation at this time is the only smart option. Other areas along the Louisiana Gulf Coast and southeast Texas have also begun evacuating.
Special-needs buses roll out at noon today; other evacuations on volunteer basis (Beaumont Enterprise)
All of the storm models show that Gustav will curve west after coming ashore so eastern Texas will be affected greatly by this storm.