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Tropical Storm Gustav expected to become a hurricane soon

The center of Tropical Storm Gustav was moving west of Jamaica this morning, and the National Hurricane Center is warning “interests through the Gulf of Mexico” to monitor the storm’s progress.

As of 8 a.m., Gustav was moving west-northwest near 8 mph and is forecast to turn toward the northwest by tomorrow and move near or over western portions of Cuba Saturday.

This morning, maximum sustained winds were near 65 mph, with Gustav expected to become a hurricane later today or Saturday. It could become a major hurricane before reaching western Cuba, the National Hurricane Center says.

NHC projections continue to show Gustav making landfall along the Louisiana coast early Tuesday. Declarations of emergency have been made by the governors of Louisiana, Texas and Mississippi in advance of the storm.

“Due to the updated tracking information on the storm this evening, certain parishes may begin their phased evacuations [today] and Saturday,” Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal said Thursday.

Jindal also alerted an additional 2,000 guardsmen to be ready to act. This is in addition to the 3,000 Louisiana National Guardsmen he activated earlier in the week.

The storm comes as the Gulf Coast marks the third anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, one of the deadliest storms in the country’s history.

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