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Lexington unlikely to see evacuees

As of Monday afternoon, it appeared unlikely that Lexington would receive any evacuees from Hurricane Gustav, but officials said they'll stay ready just in case.

A shelter already set up at Centenary United Methodist Church will be kept ready for the next few days in case any "self-evacuees" show up, said Pat Dugger, Fayette County's emergency management director.

"What we found with Katrina was that, after the storm made landfall and people realized the condition of things, many started evacuating themselves," Dugger said. "Plus, we know that tropical storm Hannah is going somewhere.

"So we're going to leave things in place for a few days to see how things pan out. Hopefully, no shelters will be needed."

Lexington officials initially had expected that as many as 700 evacuees would be sent here.

Meanwhile, the first of more than 350 Kentucky National Guard members were expected to arrive in Alexandria, La., by late Monday afternoon to help provide storm assistance. That group left Kentucky in a road convoy about 7 a.m. Monday.

A much smaller contingent of guard members that left Kentucky in five helicopters on Sunday has arrived in Meridian, Miss., according to Col. Phil Miller, a spokesman for the Kentucky National Guard.

Miller said that about 70 National Guard and active Army helicopters already are in Meridian and would be ready to start flying storm-relief missions early Tuesday morning.

Miller said that Kentucky guard members who were sent to the hurricane zone were told to be prepared for a stay of as long as 15 days. But he said that could change.

The Associated Press reported that more than 1,400 hurricane evacuees are being sheltered at the Kentucky Fair and Exposition Center. Kentucky officials had prepared for as many as 4,500.