Gustav continues to move inland as Cat 1

Monday, September 1st 2008, 7:58 pm
By: News 9

By Manuel Gallegus, for NEWS 9

NEW ORLEANS -- Hurricane Gustav made landfall Monday as a Category 2, but weakened into a Category one.

The powerful system slammed into a nearly deserted section of the Louisiana coast, but spared New Orleans.

Gustav is putting the levees in New Orleans to the test. Some streets and homes are already under water, but no catastrophic flooding comparable to Katrina was reported.

The levees that gave way and flooded the ninth ward after Hurricane Katrina are still in place. The Coast Guard is watching from above, and army soldiers are positioned on bridges looking for the first signs of trouble.

"We're monitoring the situation so we can notify our higher command if any of the levees do fail," said Louisiana National Guard Capt. Colin Smith.

The industrial canal is part of the flood protection system that was rebuilt after Hurricane Katrina. The walls were holding Monday, but the growing waves were beginning to splash over the top. The water was being pumped out as part of the state's flood plan, officials said.

"Their engineers think, they've inspected the back wall, they think it's resilient," Gov. Bobby Jindal (R-La.) said.

Gustav crashed ashore Monday morning as a Category 2 hurricane, reaching 70 mph. The 110 mph winds toppled trees and traffic lights, leaving much of New Orleans without power. With a mandatory evacuation order in effect, some residents choose to stay behind.

"If you run, you are crazy because you are running right into it," resident Adisha Serigna said.

Gustav weakened after reaching the coast, but officials said the storm could still drop 20 inches of rain.

Hurricane Gustav is scheduled to continue in its path into Texas.