New Orleans May Evacuate Ahead of Gustav

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Tropical Storm Gustav is headed for the United States, strengthening into a hurricane again and likely to become the first major hurricane to hit America this year.

Gustav's already killed at least 23 people, wreaking havoc on Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

Click play for Paul Strand's report and for comment from Pat Robertson.

Now, Jamaica worries it may be next for a major hit.

Into the weekend, forecasters expect Gustav will go right between Cuba and the Yucatan Penisula, and become an even deadlier hurricane churning across the Gulf of Mexico's warm waters.

If it hits New Orleans, nervous residents worry whether their levees will hold or give in like three years ago when Katrina hit.

Darryl Tarrence rebuilt his New Orleans home by hand.

"I wouldn't trust the levees," he said.

Col. Jeff Bedey of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers worked on reinforcing those levees post-Katrina. But he warned, "I'm not prepared to say today what level of storm we can protect against. I can tell you the system is stronger today than it was pre-Katrina."

Louisiana is warning its people near the Gulf if they want to get out of the way in time and not get stuck in nightmare traffic gridlock like three years ago, they need to evacuate this weekend.

And Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal said there's only so much government can do to protect citizens.

"I want to emphasize to our families out there, the state is doing everything we can to be prepared. They need to be prepared as well," he said.

But before it reaches the U.S. around Tuesday, Gustav could first hit oil rigs out in the Gulf with 120 mile an hour winds.

And that's why nervous speculators are already bidding up the price of oil.

Oil analyst Ken Medlock explained, "This is not atypical. We actually see every time a storm enters the Gulf, if you go back through history, there's a certain amount of speculation because there is concern that's raised about the ability of supply to be maintained."

Meanwhile, another potential hurricane is already forming out in the Atlantic, with three months of hurricane season still to go.

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Paul Strand

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