September 2nd, 2008 07:11 EST
New Orleans Overcomes Gustav
Tropical Storm Gustav continues to weaken as it moves across the the southern U.S. state of Louisiana.
The National Hurricane Center in Miami says Gustav`s maximum sustained winds have dropped to 75 kilometers an hour. The storm is expected to have weakened to a tropical depression by the time it reaches northeastern Texas Tuesday night.
Forecasters say Gustav will produce between 15 to 30 centimeters of rain over portions of Louisiana and the neighboring states of Mississippi, Arkansas and Texas through Thursday.
Gustav has weakened considerably since it made landfall Monday near New Orleans with winds of 175 kilometers per hour.
Authorities ordered a mandatory evacuation, fearing the city`s system of flood barriers could fail. But officials say the levees, which are still being rebuilt three years after Hurricane Katrina, appear to have survived the onslaught of Gustav.
Gustav Much Less Deadly Than Katrina
Late Monday, officials counted seven deaths related to the storm.
New Orleans and surrounding areas endured deadly flooding in 2005 when Hurricane Katrina claimed more than 1,400 lives and caused billions of dollars in damage.
The federal government, as well as state and local officials, were widely criticized for being unprepared for the disaster.
Last week, Gustav crossed over Jamaica, Haiti and the Dominican Republic, killing at least 94 people. The storm also caused property damage in Cuba, but no deaths were reported.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.