Diary of a hurricane
Tuesday, Aug. 26
2 a.m. – National Hurricane Center releases first advisory for Tropical Storm Gustav south of Haiti with 70 mile per hour winds.
5 a.m. – Gustav reaches hurricane strength of 85 mph.
11 p.m. – Gustav weakens into a tropical storm with 70 mph winds over Haiti.
Thursday, Aug. 28
Southeast Texas Emergency Management Officials set up a site where citizens could check for updated press releases and posted hurricane evacuation questions and answers in preparation for the onslaught of Tropical Storm Gustav.
Citizens were also urged to fuel up their vehicles and start gathering important papers, medicines, etc. and make plans in case an evacuation was called during the weekend.
Those needing assistance leaving where urged to call 211 and sign-up if they had not previously done so.
Friday, Aug. 29
3:45 p.m. – After a conference call with state emergency management officials an evacuation was not called at that time. There would be a conference call at 10 p.m. that night. Citizens were still urged to prepare for evacuation due to the uncertainty of Hurricane Gustav’s path. Orange County started releasing tips for an orderly evacuation. Citizens that had Labor Day Weekend trips planned were urged to pack accordingly, if an evacuation was called.
5 p.m. – Gustav regains hurricane strength with 75 mph winds over western Caribbean.10:49 p.m. – Plans were announced to start evacuation of 211 special needs residents starting at noon on Saturday. A voluntary evacuation was called for the general population also. The first mention of a possible mandatory evacuation to be called Sunday, Aug. 31 was announced.
Saturday, Aug. 30
5 a.m. – Gustav becomes a category two hurricane as it takes aim at Cuba with 110 mph winds..
8 a.m. – Hurricane Gustav becomes a dangerous category three hurricane with 120 mph winds.
12:10 p.m. – Orange County realizes there is some confusion over the 211 evacuations and releases information to help clear up misconceptions.
2 p.m. – Press conference called in reference to evacuation issues. Gustav is now a category four hurricane with 145 mph winds.
3:49 p.m. – A mandatory evacuation was ordered to commence Sunday, Aug. 31, at 6 a.m. 211 evacuations commenced at noon. Citizens were also encouraged to start a voluntary evacuation at that time.
5 p.m. – Gustav reaches 150 mph winds.
8 p.m. – Gustav reaches Cuba still packing winds of 150 mph.
Sunday, Aug 31
4 a.m. – Gustav drops to a category three hurricane with 125 mph winds as first warnings issued for gulf coast.
8 a.m.-Traffic update released urging residents to take the approved evacuation routes traveling north and notifying the public about traffic congestion on Interstate 10 in Chambers County near Anahuac.
10:08 a.m. – Orange announces help is still available with those needing assistance leaving the area.
Sand bags were being dispersed at the Polk Street Service Center.
1:06 p.m. – Officials send out press release to stop rumors that evacuation order had been lifted.
3:50 p.m.-Emergency officials open westbound US 90 and Hwy 105 at SH 146 to traffic, no longer diverting traffic north.
6 p.m. – Orange County announces mandatory dusk to dawn curfew.
7 p.m. – Gustav nears southern tip of Louisiana packing winds of 115 mph.
Sunday evening– Officials release list of shelters accepting evacuees from Southeast Texas.
Monday, Sept 1
9:40 a.m. – Notice given that despite rumors, the Rainbow and Memorial Bridges remained open.
10 a.m. – Gustav makes landfall near Cocodrie, La. with 110 mph winds.
Noon – Hurricane Gustav approaches Morgan City, La. at 15 mph with maximum sustained winds of 105 mph.
2 p.m. – Hurricane Gustav drops to a category one storm with maximum sustained winds of 90 mph.
2:54 p.m. – Orange County Commissioners Court information updated. Officials give first indication that the mandatory evacuation may be lifted Tuesday, Sept. 2, at 6 a.m.
4 p.m. – Gustav decreased to a category one hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 80 mph located near Opelousas, La.
7 p.m. – Gustav still a hurricane, but weakening to 75 mph winds. The storm is located about 15 miles north-northwest of Opelousas, La. and about 35 miles north-northwest of Lafayette, La.
10 p.m. – Gustav weakens to tropical storm with 60 mph winds 20 miles southwest of Alexandria, La.
Tuesday, Sept. 2
6 a.m. – Counties rescind evacuation orders, starts making plans to bring evacuees home and get infra structure back up and running.
9 a.m. – Emergency management holds meeting to plan for evacuated citizens return.
10 a.m. – Gustav not a threat at 25 mph winds as it moves across Louisiana. 6 p.m. – County announces plans in place to bring Special Needs evacuees home Wed.
Wednesday, Sept 3
Orange County Court House reopens, Lamar Classes Resume, County Commissioners hold special sessions.
Special needs evacuees start returning home.