Gustav Weakens but Could Become Hurricane Again

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

For the latest information on Gustav, visit our

Forecasters said Gustav could become a Category 2 hurricane with winds topping 96 mph (154 kph) Thursday as it moves between Cuba and Jamaica.

After Haiti, a strengthening Gustav was projected to sideswipe Cuba's southern coastline all week before entering the central gulf on Sunday.

Forecasters were reluctant to predict the storm's path beyond the weekend, the third anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.

Thunderstorms associated with Gustav were already bringing downpours to some parts of eastern Cuba late Tuesday night. In Houlgin province, communist officials evacuated residents from low-lying areas and set up shelters and emergency food distribution centers in schools and municipal buildings.

Forecasters said the U.S. military base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, would be spared a direct hit. Base spokesman Bruce Lloyd said the base was preparing for emergencies in any case.

A powerful storm in the Gulf of Mexico could force shutdowns on the offshore rigs that account for a quarter of U.S. crude production and much of its natural gas. Royal Dutch Shell PLC said it could begin evacuating workers as soon as Wednesday.

The price of light, sweet crude for October delivery ended Tuesday up US$1.16 to settle at US$116.27 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange after the forecasters said Gustav could enter the gulf as a major hurricane this weekend.

If the storm continues on its path, it could drive up U.S. gasoline prices by 10 cents a gallon ahead of Labor Day weekend, predicted James Cordier, president of Tampa, Florida-based Liberty Trading Group and

Gustav roared ashore on Haiti on Tuesday afternoon near the city of Jacmel with top sustained winds near 90 mph (145 kph). Heavy rains pelted the area as winds bent palm trees and kicked up surf along waterfronts of dilapidated wooden buildings.

Stranded travelers mobbed the American Airlines counter at the airport after the airline canceled all flights.

"I knew it was coming, but I was hoping to be out before it came," said Jody Stoltzfus, a 27-year-old missionary who had planned a visit home to Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

In Cuba, Fidel Castro issued an essay that mentioned the hurricane, saying Cuba's government "guarantees no one will be forgotten."

For the latest information on Gustav, visit our

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