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Louisiana Guard Prepares for Hurricane Ike

American Forces Press Service

BATON ROUGE, La., Sept. 11, 2008 – With parts of Louisiana still recovering from the damage of Hurricane Gustav and National Guardsmen continuing to provide assistance, Gov. Bobby Jindal has directed troops to relocate, stage and prepare for possible landfall of Hurricane Ike at a moment’s notice.

“Our governor has called upon us once again, and our Guardsmen are prepared to help our communities,” Army Maj. Gen. Bennett C. Landreneau, Louisiana’s adjutant general, said. “Our Guardsmen are mobilized and ready to support the citizens of Southwest Louisiana.”

About 3,000 troops are moving to staging areas outside of Hurricane Ike’s potential impact area to conduct response efforts for Southwest Louisiana. These efforts include evacuations, security and preparations for possible search-and-rescue missions after landfall, officials said.

Calcasieu Parish authorities expect the arrival of 300 troops this morning to support evacuations, with 40 troops reporting to Cameron, La., and 40 troops to the Lake Charles Convention Center in Lake Charles, La. Fifty National Guard boat teams will be staged in the Calcasieu area. Liaison and satellite communication teams will be stationed in parish emergency operation centers.

A C-130 cargo plane, capable of moving 30 patients at a time and making as many trips as needed, will stage in Lake Charles to assist with the evacuation of medical patients.

At 8 a.m. EDT today, Ike was about 575 miles east of Brownsville, Texas, moving west-northwest at 9 mph. Maximum sustained winds near the center of the storm are 100 mph. Movement is now toward the west-northwest at about 10 mph. Forecasters expect Ike to strengthen and become a major hurricane today or tomorrow.

The National Weather Service has issued a hurricane watch from Cameron, La., westward to Port Mansfield, Texas, with hurricane conditions possible in the watch area by late tomorrow. A tropical storm warning is in effect from the Mississippi-Alabama border westward to Cameron, La., with tropical storm conditions expected in the watch area into tomorrow.

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