Gustav stalled offshore Wednesday and poured more misery onto Haiti after landslides and flooding killed 23 people. Oil workers began leaving their rigs and New Orleans drew up evacuation plans as forecasters warned the storm could plow into the U.S. Gulf coast as a major hurricane.
Gustav killed 15 people on Haiti's deforested southern peninsula, where it dumped 12 inches (30 centimeters) or more of rain. A landslide buried eight people, including a mother and six of her children, in the neighboring Dominican Republic.
Gustav weakened to a tropical storm over Haiti, but was expected to become a hurricane again as early as Thursday over the warm Caribbean waters between Cuba and Jamaica. Its expected track pointed directly at the Cayman Islands, an offshore banking center where residents boarded up homes and stocked up on emergency supplies.
By Labor Day, Gustav could make landfall anywhere from south Texas to the Florida panhandle, and hurricane experts said everyone in between should be concerned.