Category 4 Gustav Slams Cuba; La. Exodus Increases

By Kate Rockwood,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 30, 2008 1:05 PM CDT
A sign in the window of a McDonald's restaurant in Belle Chasse, La., notifies customers that it's closed because of Gustav.   (AP Photo/Cheryl Gerber)
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(Newser) – Gustav grew into a fierce Category 4 hurricane and slammed into Cuba this afternoon as the nation scrambled to evacuate its most populated areas, the AP reports. The storm, which had been upgraded to a Category 3 just hours earlier, now has 145mph winds and remains on path to hit the Gulf Coast on Monday. In New Orleans, lines at bus stations are growing, and highway traffic is thick. The city hasn't ordered a mandatory evacuation, but it's helping the elderly and most vulnerable get out.

“I’m getting out of here. I can’t take another hurricane,” a 59-year-old woman whose house flooded during Hurricane Katrina told the AP. Highway lanes have changed so all traffic is heading north, nursing homes and hospitals are moving patients inland, and the estimated 30,000 residents unable to leave on their own are being directed to government buses. The city’s last flight is tomorrow at 6 pm, airport officials announced.