Statement as of 4:00 PM CDT on August 31, 2008
...Gustav moving quickly northwestward over the central Gulf of Mexico...Hurricane Warning extended westward...at 4 PM CDT...2100 UTC...the Hurricane Warning is extended westward along the Louisiana and Texas coasts to just east of High Island Texas. A Hurricane Warning is now in effect from just east of High Island eastward to the Alabama-Florida border...including the city of New Orleans and Lake Pontchartrain. A Hurricane Warning means that hurricane conditions are expected within the warning area within the next 24 hours. Preparations to protect life and property should be rushed to completion.A Tropical Storm Warning remains in effect from east of the Alabama-Florida border to the Ochlockonee River. A Tropical Storm Warning means that tropical storm conditions are expected within the warning area within the next 24 hours.At 5 PM EDT...2100 UTC...the Tropical Storm Warning is discontinued for the Dry Tortugas.For storm information specific to your area...including possible inland watches and warnings...please monitor products issued by your local weather office.At 400 PM CDT...2100z...the center of Hurricane Gustav was located near latitude 26.4 north...longitude 87.3 west or about 215 miles... 350 km...south-southeast of the mouth of the Mississippi River.Gustav is moving toward the northwest near 18 mph...30 km/hr. This general motion is expected to continue with a decrease in forward speed during the next couple of days. On the forecast track... Gustav should make landfall on the northern Gulf Coast on Monday.Maximum sustained winds are near 115 mph...185 km/hr...with higher gusts. Gustav is a category three hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale. Some re-intensification is possible tonight. Fluctuations in strength are likely thereafter...but Gustav is forecast to remain a major hurricane until landfall.Hurricane force winds extend outward up to 65 miles...100 km...from the center...and tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 220 miles...350 km. Tropical storm conditions should begin to spread onto the northern Gulf Coast tonight...with hurricane conditions starting to spread onshore early Monday morning.The latest minimum central pressure reported by an Air Force Reserve hurricane hunter aircraft is 957 mb...28.26 inches.An extremely dangerous storm surge of 10 to 14 feet above normal tidal levels is expected near and to the east of where the center of Gustav crosses the northern Gulf Coast. Above normal tides in the Dry Tortugas should diminish tonight.Gustav is expected to produce total rainfall accumulations of 6 to 12 inches over portion of Louisiana...southern Mississippi and southern Arkansas...with isolated maximum amounts of up to 20 inches possible through Wednesday morning. Additional rainfall amounts of about an inch are possible over Florida Keys and South Florida.Isolated tornadoes are possible over the central Gulf Coast tonight.Repeating the 400 PM CDT position...26.4 N...87.3 W. Movement toward...northwest near 18 mph. Maximum sustained winds...115 mph. Minimum central pressure...957 mb.An intermediate advisory will be issued by the National Hurricane Center at 700 PM CDT followed by the next complete advisory at 1000 PM CDT.