New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin tonight ordered the mandatory evacuation of New Orleans, turning informal advice to flee from Gustav into an official order to "get out of town." Nagin didn't mince words, referring to Gustav as the "storm of the century." The order takes effect at 8am tomorrow. Meanwhile, Gustav slammed into Cuba's tobacco-growing western tip as a monstrous Category 4 hurricane, its 150mph winds toppling telephone poles, mango and almond trees, and peeling back the tin roofs of homes.
More than a million Americans made wary by Hurricane Katrina streamed out of New Orleans and other coastal cities today. City officials also began putting an estimated 30,000 elderly, disabled, or poor residents on buses and trains for evacuation ahead of Gustav's arrival. Gustav was projected to plow into the Gulf of Mexico at full force tomorrow, and could become a Category 5 hurricane before hitting the US coast Monday afternoon.