MIAMI, Florida (CNN) — Hurricane Ike moved past the southern Bahamas on Sunday, carrying high winds and heavy rain as the Category 4 storm surged forward on a track that could take it toward the U.S. Gulf Coast.
Obenson Etienne walks to his house Sunday in Providenciales, one of the isles in the Turks and Caicos.
The possibility prompted state and local officials in Florida and Louisiana to prepare for what may be the third major storm to affect the Gulf Coast in less than a month.
“Let’s hope it’s all a false alarm,” Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal said Sunday as he pre-emptively issued a state of emergency. His state is still recovering from Hurricane Gustav; more than 370,000 people there are still without power, nearly a week after Gustav made landfall, he said.
“There continues to be much uncertainty about the predicted track,” he said of Ike.
On Sunday, President Bush declared a state of emergency in Florida. The hurricane’s outer bands could start affecting the Florida Keys by Monday afternoon.
Read moreIke begins to hit Bahamas, heads toward Cuba