FEMA says Gustav soon to be rated Category 5

Other News Materials 31 August 2008 01:09 (UTC +04:00)

The government's disaster relief chief says Hurricane Gustav is growing into a monster Category 5 storm.

The storm that hit Cuba Saturday could reach landfall along the Gulf Coast by early Tuesday.

Federal Emergency Management Agency chief David Paulison told reporters several times at a briefing Saturday that the storm was strengthening into a Category 5 hurricane.

FEMA officials said Bill Read, the director of the National Hurricane Center, interrupted an afternoon teleconference involving the agency, Gulf Coast states and the National Weather Service to say he is going to issue a special advisory statement raising Gustav to Category 5. That means winds greater than 155 mph and a storm surge greater than 18 feet above normal.

Word about the Category 5 development reached FEMA shortly before Paulison briefed reporters, AP reported.