La. Safety Officials to Gustav: Bring It On

State readies ground, air forces to battle fierce storm
By Wesley Oliver,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 1, 2008 11:26 AM CDT
As the storm rages outside, National Guardsmen watch the progress of Hurricane Gustav on the television at a control center set up in Belle Chasse, La., on Monday, Sept. 1, 2008.    (AP Photo/Amy Sancetta)
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(Newser) – Louisiana authorities have a message for Hurricane Gustav: Hit us with your best shot. The storm is firing away at the Gulf Coast, but officials say they have 685 search and rescue personnel, more than 475 watercraft, and dozens more helicopters and planes ready to go if needed. “Things look better than expected right now,” said the state’s storm coordinator.

“But this is a long way from over, and we have no plans of standing down until Friday.” Gustav has been weaker than expected, and Col. Keith LaCaze added that aerial reconnaissance will begin when winds settle below 40 mph. Helicopters “will be up as soon as it’s safe,” he said, “concentrating on the areas that were the hardest hit.”