Gustav kills 22; US Gulf Coast prepares

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) -- Tropical Storm Gustav is now being blamed for at least 22 deaths in Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

The former hurricane is heading toward Cuba, and is on a track pointing toward the U.S. Gulf coast, including Louisiana and Mississippi, where Hurricane Katrina struck three years ago.

Forecasters expect Gustav to turn back into a hurricane that could reach Category 3 strength, but where it will end up is anyone's guess at this point.

New Orleans officials aren't taking chances. They've begun planning for possible evacuations. And they're urging people who might need help in an evacuation to call an emergency information number. Mississippi emergency officials are advising people along the coast to prepare.

At last report, Gustav was centered about 90 miles south-southeast of Guantanamo, Cuba, with top sustained winds of 60 miles-an-hour. It's expected to pass between Jamaica and the southeastern coast of Cuba Thursday.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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