New Orleans didn’t have long to commemorate the third anniversary of Hurricane Katrina today as it kept a wary eye on another deadly storm. The city could get an evacuation order as early as this evening, Reuters reports, as Tropical Storm Gustav—nearing hurricane strength—churns in the Caribbean. Today, President Bush declared a state emergency to clear the way for federal support. But residents still took a break from preparations to hold an abbreviated memorial service for unidentified Katrina victims.
Bells rang throughout New Orleans at 9:38, the time the levees began to break in 2005. The National Hurricane Center says Gustav may be the most powerful storm to hit the US Gulf Coast since that fateful summer. The storm has already killed at least 71 in the Caribbean and is expected to gain strength before making landfall early next week.