Almost 2 million residents along the Lousiana coast have evacuated the region as Hurricane Gustav is expected to hit today. After his mandatory evacuation of New Orleans, Mayor Ray Nagin revealed he would be staying in the city, sleeping in City Hall. Nagin also warned, "Looters will go directly to jail. You will not get a pass this time. You will not have a temporary stay in the city. You will go directly to the Big House."

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal called a state of emergency and urged any remaining residents to evacuate. He added that 50,000 National Guard troops were activated and that 1,800 additional troops were headed to Louisiana (including some from New York) and he's requested 16,000 more. President Bush visited FEMA (which is eager to show it's ready this time) in Washington, D.C. for an update and said, "The Army Corps of Engineers informs me that while the levees are stronger than they've ever been, people across the Gulf Coast, especially in New Orleans, need to understand that in a storm of this size there is serious risk of significant flooding." However, there are still worries about the fact that the levee updating project is only 20% done since Katrina. A Times-Picayune editorial, though, says, "A timely and effective corps response could go a long way in restoring the agency's image in the eyes of those flooded by its ineptitude three years ago."

Gustav, currently a Category 3 hurricane with 115 mph winds, is expected to make landfall around noon. As of 12:45 a.m., the center of the storm is projected be west of New Orleans (which would mean New Orleans' "storm surge would be lower") and towards the central coast. It's still possible Gustav's course and intensity could change--for instance, it could gain strength when if it hits warmer water (Hurricane Hugo grew after hitting the Gulf Stream)--and there's even a chance of tornadoes. Here's the NOAA page on Gustav, MSNBC's Gustav tracker, and ongoing coverage from, including Times-Picayune reporters' blogs from the Army Corps bunker and a shrimp boat.