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Hurricane Gustav

NATIONAL
September 1, 2008 | Matea Gold and James Rainey, Times Staff Writers
The television networks and national cable news outlets Sunday shifted their top talent and reporters from the Republican National Convention here to the Gulf Coast to prepare for Hurricane Gustav's landfall. That means John McCain and his campaign will not receive the uninterrupted attention that Barack Obama did during last week's Democratic National Convention. But news executives -- much like the presumed Republican presidential nominee himself -- said they had no choice but to follow the potentially damaging events in the South, three years after Hurricane Katrina caught some news organizations flat-footed.
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NATIONAL
September 1, 2008 | Ann M. Simmons and Erika Hayasaki, Times Staff Writers
The first stirrings of Hurricane Gustav on Mississippi's coast showed up late Sunday in the ominous rain that pelted down along Highway 49. The rain was accompanied by the drenched, forlorn Louisiana evacuees who showed up in hotel lobbies desperate for a place to stay. Desperation was just as palpable on the other side of the projected hurricane zone, in Beaumont, Texas. There, thousands of residents were joining the auto caravans snaking eastward, leaving a nearly emptied ghost town for the Louisiana refugees who fled behind them.
BUSINESS
September 1, 2008 | From Times Wire Services
Hurricane Gustav's threat to the Gulf Coast halted about 15% of U.S. refining capacity Sunday, though prices at the pump haven't risen dramatically. However, analysts and others say a prolonged disruption in refining operations could cause price increases of 20 cents a gallon or more, not unlike the surges after hurricanes Katrina and Rita damaged the region's energy infrastructure three years ago. Exxon Mobil Corp., Royal Dutch Shell and Valero Energy Corp. were among the companies that said they had shut down Gulf Coast refineries, primarily in southern Louisiana.
NATIONAL
September 1, 2008 | Ralph Vartabedian, Times Staff Writer
As Hurricane Gustav bore down Sunday on New Orleans, top officials at the Army Corps of Engineers said that despite repairs and reinforcements, the 350-mile levee system still might not be able to fully protect the city. The earth and concrete levees are stronger and higher than when Hurricane Katrina struck three years ago, but they would still be unable to resist a storm of the same size. "It all depends on the strength of the storm, in terms of wind speed, water surge and how fast the hurricane tracks," Maj. Gen. Don T. Riley, deputy chief of the corps, said in an interview.
NATIONAL
September 1, 2008 | David Zucchino and Richard Fausset, Times Staff Writers
Hurricane Gustav neared the Gulf Coast early today with the first bands of its destructive rage, winds slightly weakened but still potent enough to spark a massive all-day exodus that all but emptied New Orleans and clogged Southern highways with nearly 2 million evacuees. Spread 440 miles across the Gulf of Mexico, the storm had degraded slightly from the Category 4 status reached over the weekend, weather forecasters said. Officials at the National Hurricane Center in Miami said Gustav would reach landfall in the daylight hours today as a Category 3 storm, with gusts of up to 127 miles per hour and an "extremely dangerous" storm surge that could exceed 14 feet over normal tide levels.
NATIONAL
September 1, 2008 | James Janega, Chicago Tribune
The fearful weather reports about Hurricane Gustav did not persuade Sheila Moragas to leave Old Jefferson, a suburb just west of New Orleans. It was the 38-year-old mother's dwindling ranks of friends on the micro-blogging network Twitter. One by one, Twitterers with nicknames such as "HumidCity," "DomesticKitty" and "NOLADawn" left south Louisiana, live-blogging the building drama through text messages on their laptops, home computers and cellphones. At noon Sunday, Moragas, known as "NOLAnotes" on Twitter, decided to abandon the New Orleans area in advance of a hurricane for the second time in three years.
NATIONAL
September 1, 2008 | P.J. Huffstutter and James Hohmann, Times Staff Writers
Hurricane Gustav rained on the Republicans' parade Sunday, dampening the mood among delegates from states on the Gulf Coast and far away. Many long-planned welcoming receptions went on -- subdued by several notches -- at bars, hotels and ballrooms around the Twin Cities on Sunday night, as delegates adjusted to the new and unexpectedly somber tone. "There's disappointment from this standpoint: Most people came with the expectation of a celebratory convention," said Philip Bryan, spokesman for the Alabama Republican Party.
NATIONAL
September 1, 2008 | Doyle McManus and James Gerstenzang, Times Staff Writers
The marquee act for opening night just canceled, but some Republicans couldn't be happier. All year, Republican strategists have worried about showcasing President Bush at the Republican National Convention when his standing with the public lies at a near-record low. So, when Bush canceled his planned appearance at tonight's opening session to focus on preparations for Hurricane Gustav, there were more than a few sighs of relief. "It's a good thing," said former Rep. Dick Zimmer, the Republican candidate for Senate in New Jersey, where Bush is not especially popular.
NATIONAL
August 31, 2008 | P.J. Huffstutter, Times Staff Writer
As city workers hung American flags and added patriotic-elephant decorations along downtown streets Saturday, tens of thousands of Republicans from across the country began arriving here for the party's national convention. But the festive atmosphere was dampened by growing concern over Hurricane Gustav, which is bearing down on the Gulf Coast; the arrest of protesters who police say planned riots; and cancellations by several high-profile speakers, including California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.
NATIONAL
August 31, 2008 | Bob Drogin, Times Staff Writer
As Sen. John McCain prepares to accept the Republican presidential nomination this week, his party's four-day convention will be notable in part for who isn't attending. Compared with past GOP conventions, a surprising number of prominent lawmakers and candidates will stay away from the festivities Sept. 1 to 4 in St. Paul, Minn. -- chiefly citing tough reelection battles, previous commitments or other scheduling conflicts. At least 10 incumbent senators, plus several Senate candidates, have sent their regrets.
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