Tennessee expecting 6,000 evacuees from Gulf Coast - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

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Tennessee expecting 6,000 evacuees from Gulf Coast

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) - Tennessee could see as many as 6,000 evacuees from Louisiana as people flee the Gulf Coast ahead of Hurricane Gustav.

By Sunday afternoon, about 3,500 evacuees had arrived at Tennessee Air National Guard bases in Knoxville, Nashville and Memphis, the Tennessee National Guard said.

Red Cross spokeswoman Jill Gorin said Tennessee the first evacuees arrived Saturday night in Memphis via AMTRAK train from New Orleans.

The Red Cross and Tennessee Emergency Management Agency opened five shelters in Nashville, Smyrna, Tullahoma and Lebanon. Gorin said about 2,000 evacuees were expected to arrive in Middle Tennessee.

Hundreds more could come to the state voluntarily in their own cars.

Tennessee Emergency Management spokesman Geremy Heidt says hotels in Memphis and Jackson are full. The closest stop for people without reservations is in Nashville, Heidt said.

Welcome centers in Tennessee will have updated information about where hotel rooms may be available, Heidt said.

The first evacuees arrived in East Tennessee Saturday night. American Red Cross Knoxville chapter spokesman Chris Davis said about 1,000 evacuees are expected in the area.            

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)      

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