The entire northern Gulf coast is bracing for Hurricane Ivan, which is now in the Gulf of Mexico.
Ivan is now centered about 115 miles northwest of the western tip of Cuba. This puts it about 450 miles south-southeast of the mouth of the Mississippi River. Movement is now north-northwest at nine miles an hour, and that's expected to continue for the coming day or so.
Top sustained winds are now at about 155 miles an hour. Some slight weakening is expected in the coming 24 hours, but Ivan is expected to remain a major hurricane at landfall.
There's a hurricane watch posted from Morgan City, Louisiana, eastward to St. Marks, Florida, which is south of Tallahassee. The
middle of the official forecast track brings the center of the hurricane to about Pensacola late Wednesday night, but hurricane force winds stretch out 100 miles from center. Tropical storm-force winds are out up to 200 miles.
Forecasters are NOT looking for a significant change in Ivan's forward motion. One forecast model brings the center of the system to the Gulf coast about at New Orleans, while the others point to the areas between Pascagoula, Mississippi, and just east of Pensacola.
Ivan centered at latitude 23.1 north, longitude 86.1 west.
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