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Go away, Gustav

Ugh.

Gov. Rick Perry issued a disaster declaration Thursday as Tropical Storm Gustav — which is already blamed for as many as 67 deaths in Hispaniola — appeared likely to strengthen into a major hurricane and threaten the Texas Gulf Coast.

“I urge Texans along the coast to monitor this storm closely, heed warnings from their local leaders, and take necessary precautions to protect their families, homes and businesses,” Perry said.

Louisiana and Mississippi also declared states of emergency in advance of the storm.

The National Hurricane Center forecast Gustav to strike anywhere from Texas near Port O’Connor to the Florida Panhandle by early next week, possibly as a Category 3 hurricane.

“These storms sort of have minds of their own,” said Francisco Sanchez, spokesman for the Harris County Office of Emergency Management.

Gustav could become a hurricane as early as today. The storm battered Jamaica on Thursday and is expected to target the Cayman Islands later today.

Half of me is filled with dread and uncertainty about the possibility of the storm coming our way, and the other half is filled with dread and worry for the people of Louisiana and Mississippi, especially the places like New Orleans that took the full brunt of Katrina’s force three years ago. I wish I could wave a magic wand and make the damn thing go away. We don’t even really know where it’s likely to go at this point. Great way to spend a holiday weekend, no?

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