Tropical storm Elena grew into a hurricane today as it moved toward the Gulf Coast, and forecasters urged coastal residents from Florida to Louisiana to prepare immediately for the strengthening tempest.
The National Hurricane Center in Coral Gables upgraded Elena to a hurricane at 9 a.m. EDT, after winds reached 75 m.p.h. Forecasters said Elena's winds could reach 100 m.p.h. before landfall. At noon, the storm was centered about 375 miles southeast of New Orleans.