updated 9-9-04

compiled by Dee Finney








Personal report:  9-5-04 -  7:40 p.m. EST

A major disaster is now here in the offing--the population flees Frances overloading the highways and infrastructure --Alligator Alley--the main east west from Miami to Naples is jammed--no gas or accommodations available on west coast for them--all hotels full--still have thousands homeless here from Chuck--current computer forecasts show it hitting West Palm Beach---Orlando--Tampa--millions on the roads--
if as BAD as Chuck was in Punta Gorda they have no home to return to --then what???--All supplies here on west are gone--millions coming--most shelters here destroyed --and remember--these are city people--
and this is the Florida everglades in the summer--not a good pic!!! 


9-7-04 - 

so much for the Gulf of Mexico as a food source--these events are a long term disaster of unprecedented proportions --and its only going to get worse as 2.5 million who are riding around return home and find they have no home--been raining for 2 days--great if you have no roof on your house--or no house at all --food and gas are available but scarce--
many have left and won't be back --looting in isolated areas--could be watching the end of civilization here.


9-9-04 -

as a disaster of unprecidented proportions unfolds --raining every day--the river Myakka has not been this high since 1947--fire ants floating around in balls --critters all on the move to higher ground --what didn't blow away is all soaked --
citizens rearranging each others bridgework at gas stations and 7-11's--no luck there anymore--lottery sales down--economy decimated--citrus all on the ground--2.5 million in cars returning to homes which no longer exist --gas unavailable except at central locations--Walmart can't keep shelves stocked-- and Ivan on the Horizon--just what the doctor ordered-- THE BIG FLUSH 



Path -9-02-04

        Supplies For Your Home

                     Do you have everything you need?
        Have a two week supply of each item for every person in your home.


          a.. 18 1/2 gallons of water per person (1/2 gallon for drinking, 2 gallons for bathing)
          b.. Store water in clean plastic containers

        Purchase foods that require no refrigeration and little preparation, such as:

          a.. Ready-to-eat canned food
          b.. Canned juices, milk, soup (if powdered, store extra water)
          c.. Snacks: cookies, cereals, etc.
          d.. Soft drinks, instant coffee, tea
          e.. Lots of ice (you can freeze your water supply)
        For Baby

          a.. Formula, bottles, powdered milk, jarred baby foods
          b.. Diapers, moist towelettes and special medications

          a.. Newspapers or cat litter
          b.. Moist canned foods (to preserve water)
          c.. Plastic sheets to cover floor of pet's room

          a.. First aid kit
          b.. Rubbing alcohol
          c.. Aspirin, non-aspirin pain reliever, antacid
          d.. Extra prescription medication (especially for heart problems and diabetes)
          e.. Ask your physician how to store prescription medication
        Personal Items

          a.. Toilet paper, towels, soap, shampoo
          b.. Personal and feminine hygiene products
          c.. Denture needs, contact lenses and an extra pair of eyeglasses
          d.. Sun protection, insect repellent
        Other Supplies

          a.. Battery-operated radio, flashlights, non-electric can opener, extra batteries
          b.. Charcoal, waterproof matches, extra propane gas for grills (Use grills outside only!)
          c.. ABC-rated fire extinguisher in a small canister.
          d.. Portable cooler
          e.. Plenty of absorbent towels, plastic trash bags
          f.. Wind-up or battery-operated clock
          g.. Tarp or sheet plastic, duct tape, hammer and nails for temporary roof repairs
          h.. Cleaning supplies such as chlorine bleach
          i.. Aluminum foil, paper napkins and plates, plastic cups
          j.. Can of spray paint (can be used to identify your home by insurance adjusters in case it's damaged)
          k.. At least one change of clothing per person, sturdy shoes, hat and work gloves
          l.. Pillows and blankets or sleeping bags

Tropical storm slams S.C. while Florida eyes Hurricane Frances in Atlantic


MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. - Tropical Storm Gaston sloshed ashore in South Carolina Sunday with near hurricane-force wind, spinning sheets of rain that flooded roads as the storm knocked out power to thousands of people.

Meanwhile, Floridians fresh from dealing with Hurricane Charley were keeping an eye on Hurricane Frances. Frances had sustained winds of 135 mph about 550 miles east of the Leeward Islands in the southeastern Caribbean.

The National Hurricane Center in Miami said people from Cuba to the southeastern United States should closely monitor the progress of the storm, which could strengthen on Sunday and threaten land by Labor Day weekend.

Gaston made landfall near McClellanville, S.C., a small fishing village brushed by Hurricane Charley earlier this month when it came ashore for a second time after devastating southwest Florida. Fifteen years ago, McClellanville was devastated by Hurricane Hugo.

Already by mid-afternoon, bands of rain had reached North Carolina. No flooding was reported, but the strong winds tore the roof from a house in Laurinburg, officials said.

The storm weakened as it moved inland, but prompted flood and tornado watches in coastal and nearby inland counties of South Carolina and North Carolina. Winds of 15 to 25 mph were expected in the area Sunday night, with gusts of up to 35 mph, the National Weather Service said.

Gov. Mark Sanford declared a state of emergency Sunday and encouraged "folks to stay in their homes for the time being so that damage assessment crews, utility truck crews and debris removal crews can do their jobs."

As much as eight inches of rain had fallen along some parts of the coast by midday, and a flash flood watch was in effect. Hundreds of residents were urged to evacuate ahead of the storm.

Hours after the eye of Gaston came ashore, steady sheets of rain pelted Mount Pleasant. Tree limbs littered flooded roadways, some of which were impassable. Palmettos were pushed to the pavement and road signs twisted in the wind.

Across the harbor in Charleston, Gaston flooded streets and pushed over power poles. Almost 150,000 people were without power at the height of the storm, officials said.

On Sullivans Island, the barrier island east of Mount Pleasant, Gaston flooded yards and roads near beach bungalows so it was impossible to tell where roads ended and yards began.

There was also water on the drive leading to Sanford's beachfront residence. Water covered the road in the island's business district several blocks from the beach. "No Wake Zone" read a sign in front of one restaurant.

The rain tapered off along the coast by midday, but blustery wind still raked the coastline near Charleston and intersections throughout the area had no traffic lights.

"The important thing is that we don't have any false sense of safety that it's all over," said Charleston's mayor, Joseph P. Riley Jr. "We have downed trees and often times there are power lines under those downed trees."

The National Weather Service reported peak wind gusts of 82 mph in downtown Charleston, 81 mph on the Isle of Palms and 73 mph at the East Cooper Airport in Mount Pleasant.

Charleston County officials said there was only one initial report of a serious injury - a resident injured when a tree fell on a home.

"It just goes to show that the residents took the proper precautions that they needed to take and shows they were prepared," said Roland Windham, the Charleston County administrator.

"We hope we don't experience any more injuries during the cleanup," Windham said. "That's typically when you see a lot of injuries occur."

In Charleston, water stood in the street in front of the palatial homes on the city's waterfront Battery. There Debbie Rice-Marko was cleaning up limbs and other debris from in front of her 250-year-old home which was left with knee-deep water in the basement.

"We didn't see anything like this with Charley," she said, noting residents have had to deal with Bonnie, Charley and Gaston already this year. And they are now eyeing Hurricane Frances spinning in the Atlantic.

"I think if we can keep our eyes on each other and what's important, I'm very encouraged we're going to be O.K.," she said. "We in a cycle now where we can expect some storms. The most important thing is to cling together and look out for each other."

Residents in low-lying areas in Charleston and Georgetown counties were urged to move to higher ground before the storm hit. Authorities also asked people living in mobile homes to evacuate.

John Legare of the state Emergency Management agency said about 30 people had sought refuge in five shelters in coastal counties as Gaston approached. A shelter opened in Williamsburg County.

Gaston - the hurricane season's seventh named storm - had maximum sustained winds of 70 mph when it hit land but was down to 45 mph by early afternoon. At 5 p.m., a weakened Gaston was moving north about 8 mph across inland South Carolina. Forecasters said the weakened storm could reach North Carolina by Sunday night.

Legare said the storm had picked up speed, which could mean less flooding.

"The faster it moves, the less chance it has to rain," Legare said. "But until it has passed through, I don't think we can say flooding is not a concern.
Posted on Mon, Aug. 30, 2004


Planes gather data as Frances nears

Hurricane Frances poses a serious threat to the U.S. East Coast in less than a week, but forecasters say it is too early to specify landfall.

The first wave of hurricane hunter planes penetrated and circled Hurricane Frances on Sunday as scientists employed every tool at their disposal to learn more about an intense storm that seems likely to eventually strike the East Coast -- somewhere.

Once again, forecasters and emergency managers advised residents of South Florida and the rest of the Atlantic coast to carefully monitor the powerful hurricane, take preliminary precautions now and get ready to elevate their preparations later this week.

''We could have the threat of a significant hurricane in five days here,'' said forecaster James Franklin of the National Hurricane Center in West Miami-Dade County. ``Right now, I think we'll see some kind of impact on the East Coast.''


Traveling slowly, Frances was not expected to reach the mainland until Saturday at the earliest, though that could change.

Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Gaston weakened after making landfall Sunday in South Carolina, and forecasters tracked newly formed Tropical Storm Hermine, which formed Sunday evening between Bermuda and the East Coast but posed no immediate threat to land.

Though the dangerous core of Frances is expected to miss the Caribbean islands, its outlying weather could touch that region today or Tuesday and forecasters issued warnings and watches for the northern U.S. Virgin Islands, Culebra and Vieques in Puerto Rico, and other nearby islands.

That proximity to land also brought Frances within range of hurricane hunter aircraft, a development eagerly awaited by forecasters because real-time data gathered by those crews always add a degree of precision to computerized forecast models. Until now, forecasters had to rely on satellite imagery and ship reports.

Some scientists flew into Frances' eye, taking measurements that helped determine that the hurricane weakened slightly, though it remained a Category 3 storm. Others flew surveillance missions around the storm, collecting information about the surrounding environment that can help forecasters improve their track forecasts. By this morning, all of that data will be incorporated into forecasts, and that could change the picture -- for better or worse.

''With each day that passes, you get a little more clarity,'' said Franklin, a veteran of many hurricane hunter missions. ``Hopefully, this information will bring the models into line.''


Hurricane forecasters have access to more than a dozen models developed by scientists at universities, the Navy and elsewhere. Each computer program analyzes different sets of data, then projects the path and intensity of a storm.

Through much of Sunday, the computerized models diverged into two groups: One brought Frances into South Florida; the other, which began to gain dominance, turned it more northwest, suggesting a run at northeast Florida, Georgia or the Carolinas.

The deciding factor will be the strength of a high pressure system that sits north of the hurricane. If that system remains strong, it would nudge Frances toward South Florida; if it weakens, it could allow Frances to turn a little northward.

''There are a couple of different scenarios that could play out, and we can't really call it yet,'' Franklin said.

One way or the other, forecasters said, some spot along the East Coast seemed likely to endure a direct hit.

Posted on Wed, Sep. 01, 2004

Florida could face 2nd big hit

Residents and emergency managers throughout a state still stunned by Hurricane Charley confronted the dawning reality this morning that Florida is likely to be ravaged by its second natural disaster in three weeks.

Though still far away, a ferocious Hurricane Frances -- a huge Category 4 storm with 140-mph winds -- rolled closer to the East Coast. Warnings and watches covered the southern and central Bahamas, which will get hit today and Thursday. South Florida could be under an official alert by Thursday morning and could be swept by hurricane wind Friday.

This morning, all signs pointed to a direct strike at the Florida East Coast on Friday or Saturday, depending on how far north or south the core wobbles.

Emergency managers began making plans. Water managers lowered canals. The Florida National Guard prepared to redeploy some of the 400 troops now helping Southwest and Central Florida residents cope with the aftermath of Charley, which struck the Gulf Coast on Aug. 13.

''I don't want to say we've been there and done that, but . . . we're prepared to do it again,'' said Lt. Col. Ron Tittle of the Florida National Guard.

And South Floridians wisely elevated their level of concern and preparation, flocking to hardware stores and supermarkets even if Frances' intentions remained uncertain.

''You can't know,'' Andrea Knafo of Cooper City said as she shopped for emergency provisions. ``I have three children who need a roof over their head. Food, safety. I'm preparing for sure.''

The problem: Forecasters did not yet know with a high degree of certainly where Frances' powerful core would collide with the mainland. They said the point of attack could come anywhere between Key West and South Carolina, though the Florida coast seemed most likely.

''I don't see how this will not have an impact over a large section of the Florida peninsula,'' said Max Mayfield, director of the National Hurricane Center in West Miami-Dade.

Worse, forecasters suggested that the storm could be moving very slowly when it crosses the coast, prolonging the agony. And the calamity it brings could be sweeping.

Frances is mammoth, its hurricane winds stretching across 140 miles, equal to the distance from Miami to Vero Beach; its tropical storm-force winds extending 370 miles from end to end, greater than the distance from Homestead to Jacksonville.

''Frances will affect a very, very large area,'' Mayfield said Tuesday evening during a rare televised press conference that dramatized the danger. ``We are expecting it to make landfall as a major hurricane that certainly is capable of causing extreme damage and, if we're not careful, loss of life.''

The extended three-day forecast suggested that the core could make landfall near Fort Pierce. But forecasters repeatedly emphasized that those forecasts have large average margins of error -- and that left the entire state within Frances' potential sphere of destruction.


Again breaking with tradition, Mayfield shared with TV viewers animated images of two of the hurricane center's computerized forecast models. One sent the storm directly over South Florida; the other dispatched it to South Carolina.

At issue was the strength of a high pressure system north of the hurricane, blocking its passage and forcing it westward. If the high remains strong, South Florida could absorb a direct hit from Frances. If the system weakens, Frances might be able to curve away and menace Central or North Florida or points farther north.

''So everybody from Florida through the Carolinas needs to stay very, very vigilant at this time,'' Mayfield said.

In addition, Frances produced one of the forecasters' most dreaded scenarios: an extremely dangerous storm approaching the coast at an oblique angle, much like Charley did. That makes even short- and mid-range forecasts more difficult because a tiny variation in direction over the ocean can substantially change the angle of attack and thus the landfall point.


So Mayfield and other experts urged residents not to focus on -- or draw much fear or comfort from -- the thin center line of long-range forecasts. Instead, they said, monitor the entire cone of probability and watch the trend of the forecasts to see if the danger might be growing.

And get ready now.

''The odds that the worst of the storm will come right over you are always low,'' said Bryan Norcross, chief meteorologist for WFOR-CBS4 and one of the region's leading hurricane experts. ``But the consequences of not taking action ahead of time to protect your family and your property are huge.''

Many South Floridians took that to heart. Some were veterans of Andrew, which ravaged south Miami-Dade in 1992. Others saw the devastation wrought by Charley.

At a Home Depot on University Drive in Davie, customers hustled portable generators out the door so quickly they almost left skid marks. ''We got 30 of them in this morning,'' said assistant manager Danny Miranda. ``Forty-five minutes after we opened, they were gone.''

He said managers were summoning supplies from stores across the country because many Florida stores were depleted by Charley.

Circling the area, stacking rows of duct tape like bricks in their carts, customers spoke with relatives or friends on their cellphones, trying to figure out what was needed.

Among them was Michael Waldfogel, who said his home was destroyed by Andrew and he planned to help elderly neighbors board up their homes. ''I was born in Miami,'' Waldfogel said. ``I know the routine.''

Herald staff writers Tina Cummings, Phil Long and Nikki Waller contributed to this report.


Southeast Braces for Hurricane Frances
Just Weeks After Hurricane Charley, Southeastern Residents Await Wrath of Hurricane Frances

The Associated Press

STUART, Fla. Sept. 2, 2004 — With some homes still swaddled in blue tarp and the deaths from Hurricane Charley still fresh in their minds, Southeastern residents once again warily eyed a menacing hurricane a storm that could prove the mightiest yet this season.

Nearly a half-million people in Florida were ordered to leave their homes by Thursday afternoon as Hurricane Francis churned toward the U.S. mainland. States of emergency were declared in both Georgia and Florida.

Packing 140 mph winds and a course that has emergency officials in several Southeastern states jittery, the Category 4 storm was expected to fluctuate in intensity as it headed for a Labor Day weekend rendezvous.

Supermarkets along the state's Atlantic coast were stripped of bottled water and canned goods. Home supply stores were filled with people desperate for more plywood, batteries, flashlights and generators.

Reservation clerks of sold-out hotels groaned with each telephone ring, knowing someone seeking a room was on the other end. And demand for gas was so great some stations were pumped dry.

"We can't control the kind of damage that Frances is going to cause, but if people are smart, lives can be saved," said Max Mayfield, the director of the National Hurricane Center in Miami.

Early Thursday, Frances' center was 520 miles east-southeast of West Palm Beach. It was moving west-northwest near 13 mph, and was expected to continue that course for the next 24 hours.

Forecasters said Frances a Category 4 storm could begin affecting Florida late Thursday, less than three weeks after Charley raked the state's west coast with 145 mph wind, causing billions of dollars in damage and killing 27 people.

Already, Frances is as strong as Charley, and forecasters said it could become a Category 5 with winds of 156 mph or higher by the time it makes landfall. The difference wasn't something residents spent time discussing.

"Category 4, Category 5, what's the difference? I'm still out of here," said Michele Byrd, 38, a food service executive from Vero Beach. "This one will probably be bigger than Charley. I don't see any way we're not getting hit."

Late Wednesday, the National Hurricane Center issued a hurricane watch for about 280 miles of Florida coast from Florida City to Flagler Beach. A hurricane watch means that those areas could start feeling hurricane conditions within 36 hours.

Court trials were canceled in 10 Florida counties, cruise lines kept their ships away and schools in nine counties were shuttered for Thursday; another three planned to do the same Friday. In St. Lucie County, a curfew was to go in effect Friday night.

The menacing strength of Frances coupled with the damage wrought by Hurricane Charley in Florida had even normally stoic coastal Georgians spooked.

"The people here are paying this one a little more attention than they normally would," said Tybee Island Mayor Walter Parker. "When I went to the Post Office today, some people said they're a little more concerned. They saw what Charley did to Florida."

The storm and evacuations it forces are certain to spoil Labor Day outings and make a mess of holiday travel across the Southeast. Florida may reverse lanes on some highways to handle the evacuation traffic, state Emergency Management Director Craig Fugate said.

Many businesses along the Atlantic coast began closing Wednesday, some not planning to reopen until Sunday at the earliest. Even Cape Canaveral's Kennedy Space Center said it planned to shut down, leery of the havoc Frances could bring.

"It's going to hit somewhere," said Stephanie Graniero, who was having hurricane shutters attached to her store along a deserted commercial strip of Delray Beach. "You have to try to stay calm and not panic. If it's going to hit, you have to be prepared."

An evacuation order was issued for 300,000 Palm Beach County residents, and those who live in mobile homes and flood-prone areas of Volusia, Brevard, Martin and Indian River counties also were ordered to find safer locations. Forecasters said storm surges of 15 feet or more could affect those areas if Frances takes dead aim.

State officials worried about finding enough room in shelters. Many hotel rooms in southern Florida are occupied by emergency workers and people left homeless by Charley. Some schools and community centers are still being used as shelters.

To make matters worse, many rivers and lakes in the Carolinas and Virginia are already swollen with rains from a series of August storms. The most recent of those came Monday, when the remnants of Tropical Storm Gaston brought heavy rain and knocked down trees and power lines.

Joe Farmer, of South Carolina's Emergency Management Division, said the state would likely have to deal with Frances even if it makes landfall in Florida since evacuees would head north on Interstate 95.

The last time two major storms hit Florida so close together was 1950, when Hurricane Easy hit the Tampa area and Hurricane King struck Miami about six weeks later. Neither of those storms were as powerful as Charley or Frances.:

Florida Orders Nearly 500,000 Residents Evacuated Ahead of Hurricane Frances
VOA News
01 Sep 2004, 15:24 UTC
AP Photo
Hurricane Frances Wednesday, September 1, 2004
Florida Governor Jeb Bush has declared a state of emergency there, as authorities order the evacuation of nearly half a million people as a precaution against Hurricane Frances.

The evacuations were ordered for several east coast counties out of concern the Category Four hurricane could make landfall within days.

The storm is threatening Florida as the state struggles to recover from the destruction caused by Hurricane Charley last month.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center says Frances is continuing to lash the Turks and Caicos Islands in the Caribbean, and there are reports of tree and roof damage on Grand Turk Island.

Forecasters say the storm is packing winds of nearly 220 kilometers per hour, and will pass near or over the southeastern Bahamas Thursday.

Some information for this report provided by AP.

NBC News and news services
Updated: 11:16 a.m. ET Sept. 2, 2004

MIAMI - As Hurricane Frances pounded the Bahamas on Thursday, 750,000 Floridians prepared to evacuate their homes by the afternoon and forecasters warned the Category 4 storm could be worse than Hurricane Charley last month and even worse than Hurricane Andrew of 1992, the most expensive storm to ever hit the United States.

While Charley was as a Category 4 storm as well, Frances is twice as wide, Ed Rappaport of the National Hurricane Center told NBC's "Today" show Thursday. As a result, he said, expect "the same kind of devastation but perhaps over a larger area near landfall."

Andrew, for its part, was more intense at its core but also "a smaller storm ... so we expect a wider area of damage than we saw with Andrew," Rappaport said.

Packing 145 mph winds that extend out 80 miles and on a course that has emergency officials in several southeastern states jittery, Frances was expected to strengthen as it headed for landfall, possibly by late Friday or early Saturday.

States of emergency were declared in both Georgia and Florida, which has never before seen two Category 4 storms make landfall within a span of just three weeks. Thursday morning, Florida's Broward County issued evacuation orders for 250,000 residents, adding to the 500,000 alerted in nearby areas Wednesday.

“It’s now time to act,” said Florida Emergency Management Director Craig Fugate.

Broward County Sheriff Ken Jenne told residents that if they refused to leave evacuation zones, police would be collecting names and phone numbers for their next of kin.

Florida could feel winds soon
At 11 a.m. ET Thursday, Frances’ center was 450 miles east-southeast of West Palm Beach. It was moving west-northwest near 13 mph, and was expected to continue that course for the next 24 hours.

Forecasters said Frances could begin affecting Florida late Thursday, less than three weeks after Charley raked the state’s west coast with 145 mph wind, causing billions of dollars in damage and killing 27 people.

Forecasters said Frances could become a Category 5 storm with winds of 156 mph or higher by the time it makes landfall. The difference wasn’t something residents spent time discussing.

“Category 4, Category 5, what’s the difference? I’m still out of here,” said Michele Byrd, 38, a food service executive from Vero Beach. “This one will probably be bigger than Charley. I don’t see any way we’re not getting hit.”

On Thursday, the National Hurricane Center issued a hurricane warning covering 300 miles of eastern Florida, from Florida City north to Flagler Beach, including Lake Okeechobee. A hurricane warning means that hurricane conditions are expected within 24 hours.

“People should not concentrate on the forecast track,” forecaster Jack Beven said Thursday morning, urging residents of the entire watch region to immediately begin preparing. “A slight dip in the track could result in big changes in landfall.”

Signs of preparation
Supermarkets along the state’s Atlantic coast were stripped of bottled water and canned goods. In the pre-dawn hours Thursday, long lines were forming outside home supply stores in Palm Beach County, with dozens of people hoping for a chance to buy plywood or generators. A delivery truck’s arrival was met with raucous applause.

Reservation clerks of sold-out hotels groaned with each telephone ring, knowing someone seeking a room was on the other end. And demand for gas was so great some stations were pumped dry.

Court trials were canceled in 10 Florida counties, cruise lines kept their ships away and schools in nine counties were shuttered for Thursday; another three planned to do the same Friday. In St. Lucie County, a curfew was to go in effect Friday night.

The menacing strength of Frances coupled with the damage wrought by Hurricane Charley in Florida had even normally stoic coastal Georgians spooked.

“The people here are paying this one a little more attention than they normally would,” said Tybee Island Mayor Walter Parker. “When I went to the Post Office today, some people said they’re a little more concerned. They saw what Charley did to Florida.”

Reports from Caribbean
In the Caribbean, the storm’s lashing winds tore tin roofs off houses and plucked trees from the ground as it plowed through the Turks and Caicos.

No injuries were reported but hundreds fled their homes and many telephone lines were still down. More than a dozen houses were damaged.

Bahamas Prime Minister Perry Christie urged Bahamians to remain calm, but cautioned islanders they could see “the most intense hurricane in recorded history.”

The U.S. Embassy in Nassau evacuated about 200 non-emergency personnel and their family members, said Stacie Zerdecki, an embassy spokeswoman. Hundreds of others also fled.

Club Med evacuated its Columbus Isle resort on San Salvador Island in the Bahamas because it was in the direct path of the storm, said Nadeige Martelly, a Club Med spokeswoman.

About 375 guests and 110 employees left on charter planes Wednesday and were taken to Club Med resorts in the Dominican Republic, Miami and Montreal, she said.

Traffic headaches
Back in Florida, the storm and evacuations it forces are certain to spoil Labor Day outings and make a mess of holiday travel across the Southeast. Florida may reverse lanes on some highways to handle the evacuation traffic, state Emergency Management Director Craig Fugate said.

Many businesses along the Atlantic coast began closing Wednesday, some not planning to reopen until Sunday at the earliest. Even Cape Canaveral’s Kennedy Space Center said it planned to shut down, leery of the havoc Frances could bring.

“It’s going to hit somewhere,” said Stephanie Graniero, who was having hurricane shutters attached to her store along a deserted commercial strip of Delray Beach. “You have to try to stay calm and not panic. If it’s going to hit, you have to be prepared.”

An evacuation order was issued for 300,000 Palm Beach County residents, and 200,000 who live in mobile homes and flood-prone areas of Volusia, Brevard, Martin and Indian River counties also were ordered to find safer locations. Forecasters said storm surges of 15 feet or more could affect those areas if Frances takes dead aim.

State officials worried about finding enough room in shelters. Many hotel rooms in southern Florida are occupied by emergency workers and people left homeless by Charley. Some schools and community centers are still being used as shelters.

To make matters worse, many rivers and lakes in the Carolinas and Virginia are already swollen with rains from a series of August storms. The most recent of those came Monday, when the remnants of Tropical Storm Gaston brought heavy rain and knocked down trees and power lines.

Joe Farmer, of South Carolina’s Emergency Management Division, said the state would likely have to deal with Frances even if it makes landfall in Florida since evacuees would head north on Interstate 95.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Floridians clearing out as Frances moves in
1.2 million people ordered to evacuate ahead of hurricane
MIAMI, Florida (CNN) -- Emergency officials in 10 Florida counties ordered mandatory evacuations for residents in mobile homes and low-lying areas, as Hurricane Frances swept through the Caribbean towards the U.S. mainland. Nine other counties may follow suit, according to the Florida Emergency Management Agency.

The Associated Press reports that about 1.2 million people, mostly in South Florida, have been told to clear out ahead of the powerful Category 4 storm. Interstate 95 northbound toward Jacksonville resembled more of a parking lot than a major thoroughfare Thursday afternoon as thousands of Florida residents and visitors fled low-lying coastal areas.

At 2 p.m. ET, Frances was 410 miles (660 kilometers) east-southeast of Florida's lower east coast and right on top of San Salvador Island in the Bahamas, moving west-northwest at about 13 mph (21 kph).

With its 145 mph (233 kph) sustained winds and 175 mph (282) gusts, the storm was set to cross over or near the central Bahamas Thursday afternoon and evening, the hurricane center in Miami said. All of the Bahamas is under a hurricane warning.

The National Hurricane Center issued a hurricane warning Thursday for most of Florida's east coast, from Florida City north to Flagler Beach. Evacuation orders mostly affected South Florida -- 300,000 in Palm Beach County, 250,000 in Broward County and 320,000 in Miami-Dade County -- The Associated Press reported. Farther north, some 185,000 people in Brevard County and
120,000 in Volusia County were urged to leave.

"We expect the storm will continue to move west-northwest and shift slightly toward the northwest moving closer to the Florida coast," said Ed Rappaport, the center's deputy director. "We expect the worst conditions late Friday and overnight Friday."

Rappaport cautioned that he couldn't specify where the storm would strike but added that the area affected could be 150 miles (241 kilometers) wide. "We are expecting a major landfall in Florida in the next 36 hours," he said. "All preparations should be rushed to completion." 

A hurricane watch and tropical storm warning are in effect for the middle and upper Florida Keys from south of Florida City to the Seven Mile Bridge. Floridians securing homes Floridians lined up for dwindling supplies to secure their coastal homes before being ordered to leave. "The earliest we're going to see significant impact from the storm appears to be Friday afternoon, but people should not wait," said state Emergency Management Director Craig Fugate. "It's time to act."

Florida Gov. Jeb Bush declared a state of emergency in advance of the storm, and across the state preparations were made.
Hospitals and schools in the areas have been shut down and evacuated, and hotels are rapidly filling. Officials also suspended tolls on highways and bridges that will be used for evacuations.

Col. Chris Knight of the Florida Highway Patrol reported traffic flowing smoothly but said he expected it to worsen as the storm approached. "We are prepared to one-way the Beeline Expressway [connecting the coast to Orlando], if it's necessary, for about a 15-mile stretch," he said. "It depends on how much the backup is on I-95 in Brevard County."
Knight said the patrol also had contingency plans to make Interstate 10, carrying traffic west from the Jacksonville area in North Florida, one way if needed. Because of the storm, the Treasury Department was urging Florida banks Thursday to let certain customers draw on their Social Security benefit checks a day ahead of time, The Associated Press reported. 

Precautions in Bahamas

Frances pounded the Turks and Caicos Islands overnight, disrupting power and forcing residents to move inland. CNN's Karl Penhaul said Bahamians were preparing for the storm in Freeport. Rappaport said Frances threatened to be much more dangerous than Hurricane Charley, another Category 4 storm that hit Florida's opposite coast on August 13, killing 25 people.

Hurricanes are classified as categories 1 to 5 on the Saffir-Simpson hurricane scale. A Category 4 storm has winds of 131 to 155 mph (201 to 249 kph). "This is a much bigger storm than Charley was, maybe two to three times the size," Rappaport said. "There'll be a large area of damage when this comes ashore."

State still recovering from Charley

Rappaport said that Frances was also a larger storm than Hurricane Andrew, the devastating Category 5 storm that crushed South Florida in 1992. "It is likely to be a much wetter storm than Andrew was," he said. "One reason is that it's bigger than Andrew and another is that it's more slowly moving." Florida is still recovering from the aftereffects of Charley, which slammed into Charlotte County on the Gulf Coast nearly three weeks ago, then crossed the state and headed into the Atlantic near Daytona Beach.

The United States has never been hit by two Category 4 storms in the same year, according to the hurricane center's 133 years of data collection. The last time two major storms -- Category 3 or above -- hit the U.S. mainland in the same year was in 1950 with Hurricanes Easy and King. 

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Hurricane Frances´ path - Port St. Lucie now target for landfall

Path Would Bring Hours Of 100 MPH Winds In Orlando
Port St. Lucie May Be Possible Target For Landfall

POSTED: 2:35 pm EDT September 2, 2004
UPDATED: 4:13 pm EDT September 2, 2004

The Tropical Prediction Center´s latest predicted path for Hurricane Frances brings the storm to southwest Orlando packing winds over 100 mph, according to Local 6 News meteorologist Tom Sorrells.

The "eye path" of the storm is predicted to hit Florida -- possiblity Port St. Lucie -- at 8 or 9 a.m. with winds of up to 145 mph, Sorrells said. If the storm keeps its current course, it will travel northwest and pass Winter Haven, Fla.

By 2 a.m. Sunday, the storm should pass southwest of Orlando, bringing up to 10 inches of rain. It is then expected to continue on land and pass by Ocala, Fla., Local 6 News reported.

Local 6 News reported that if the storm continues on the projected path, Orange County, Fla., and Orlando will see up to 10 inches of rain early Sunday and winds over 100 mph. The winds could last for several hours in Orange County, Tom Sorrells reported.

Marion County residents can expect winds to reach more than 80 mph and possibly eight inches of rain.

Residents in Seminole County can expect 100 mph winds and up to 10 inches of rain.

Volusia County residents can expect to see a storm surge of up to 14 feet and possibly 135 mph winds. Also, up to 12 inches of rain is possible.

Residents in Polk County, Fla., can expect 100 mph winds and up to 10 inches of rain.

Lake County residents can expect to see winds at over 90 mph and up to 10 inches of rain.

Residents in Sumter County can expect 80 mph winds and rain of up to eight inches.

Brevard County residents can expect to see a storm surge of up to 16 feet with 140 mph winds.

Residents in Osceola County could see 110 mph winds and up to 10 inches of rain.

Anxious Floridians Wait For Frances

Hurricane warnings went up and more than a million coastal residents were told to evacuate Thursday as Florida braced for Hurricane Frances, which could be the mightiest storm to hit the state in a decade.

The hurricane warning covered most of the state´s eastern coast, stretching about 300 miles from Florida City, near the state´s southern tip, to Flagler Beach, north of Daytona Beach.

It meant hurricane-force winds of at least 74 mph were likely by midmorning Friday -- just three weeks after Hurricane Charley, another Category 4 storm, raked the state´s western coast with 145 mph wind, causing billions of dollars in damage and killing 27 people.

Most of the residents who were told to leave were in South Florida -- 300,000 in Palm Beach County, 250,000 in Broward County and 320,000 in Miami-Dade County. Volusia County, which includes Daytona Beach, was the lastest to issue an evacuation order, saying 120,000 residents on its barrier islands and all mobile home parks have to leave by Friday morning. Statewide, more than 1.2 million people were under evacuation orders.

The entire city of Miami Beach, with its Art Deco hotels and glitzy nightclubs and restaurants, was under an evacuation order in Miami-Dade County for a total of about 320,000 people in coastal and low-lying areas. Statewide, more than 1 million people were under evacuation orders.

Patricia Thomas, 40, of Vero Beach, had trouble finding gas for her BMW coupe because no stations had premium fuel. "I just want to fill up my car and get far away from here," she said, her eyes puffy and red. "I´m mad, I´m frustrated, I´m scared. I´m not in a good place right now."

Jenny Stimpson, 32, joined hundreds of others at a Wal-Mart in Stuart hunting for last-minute supplies but could only find ice. She said she bought 25 bags because "everywhere you go, you better grab something cause it won´t be there if you go back later." Forecasters said Frances´ dangerous core could still strike anywhere along Florida, either late Friday or early Saturday.

Other evacuation orders were issued for 300,000 people in Palm Beach County and up to 250,000 residents in Broward County, which contains Fort Lauderdale. Those who live in mobile homes and on barrier islands of about half a dozen counties also were ordered to find safer locations. Forecasters said storm surges of 15 feet or more could affect the coast if Frances takes dead aim.

Traffic was starting to back up on Interstate 95, the main north-south highway along the state´s east coast. It stretched for at least 5 miles in Brevard County, east of Orlando, but was moving slowly.

The storm and evacuations it forces are certain to spoil Labor Day outings and make a mess of holiday travel across the Southeast. Florida may reverse lanes on some highways to handle the evacuation traffic, state Emergency Management Director Craig Fugate said. Tolls were rescinded on major roads.

State officials hoped to avoid a repeat of the evacuation mess during Hurricane Floyd in 1999, when 1.3 million people were told to evacuate the state´s East Coast. Traffic backed up 30 miles or more as people headed inland although only the outer effect´s of the storm were felt in Florida.

Many businesses along the Atlantic coast began closing Wednesday, some not planning to reopen until Sunday at the earliest. Even Cape Canaveral´s Kennedy Space Center said it planned to shut down, leery of the havoc Frances could bring. Frances is just as strong as Hurricane Charley, which devastated Florida´s southwest coast Aug. 13, but twice the size, said Stephen Baig, a forecaster at the National Hurricane Center in Miami. Frances was also about twice the size of 1992´s more powerful Hurricane Andrew, which destroyed much of southern Miami-Dade County.

That means that Frances´ hurricane-force winds, which extend up to 80 miles from its center, can cause just as much damage over a larger area, Baig said Thursday.

Supermarkets along the state´s Atlantic coast were stripped of bottled water and canned goods. Long lines formed outside home supply stores across the state, with dozens of people desperately hoping for a chance to buy scarce plywood or generators. A delivery truck´s arrival was met with raucous applause in Palm Beach County.

As Steve Missimer waited with about 300 people at a Home Depot to buy last-minute supplies, he summed up his storm philosophy: "You ride down the highway at 145 miles an hour and see how fast stuff flies at you. That´s what this storm is going to be like.

It´s not something you want to try to ride out."

Reservation clerks of sold-out hotels groaned with each telephone ring, knowing someone seeking a room was on the other end. And demand for gas was so great some stations were pumped dry. "We can´t control the kind of damage that Frances is going to cause, but if people are smart, lives can be saved," hurricane center director Max Mayfield said.

At 2 p.m. EDT, Frances´ center was 410 miles east-southeast of West Palm Beach. It was moving west-northwest near 13 mph, and was expected to continue that course for the next day.

"People should not concentrate on the forecast track," hurricane center forecaster Jack Beven said Thursday morning, again urging residents of the entire watch region to immediately begin preparing. "A slight dip in the track could result in big changes in landfall."

Frances could also lose forward speed and linger longer over land, which would mean more rain and dangerous storm surge that could flood low-lying areas.

Frances comes less than three weeks after Charley raked the state´s west coast with 145-mph top sustained winds, causing billions of dollars in damage and killing 27 people.

Forecasters said it could become a Category 5 with winds of 156 mph or higher by the time it makes landfall. The difference wasn´t something residents spent time discussing.

"Category 4, Category 5, what´s the difference? I´m still out of here," said Michele Byrd, 38, a food service executive from Vero Beach. "This one will probably be bigger than Charley. I don´t see any way we´re not getting hit."

Court trials were canceled in 10 Florida counties, cruise lines kept their ships away and schools in nine counties were shuttered for Thursday; another three planned to do the same Friday. In St. Lucie County, a curfew was to go in effect Friday night.

State officials worried about finding enough room in shelters. Many hotel rooms in southern Florida are occupied by emergency workers and people left homeless by Charley. Some schools and community centers are still being used as shelters.

To make matters worse, many rivers, lakes and drainage canals in Florida were already swollen with rains after Charley. Officials were pumping out water to lower levels in an attempt to minimize flooding.

The last time two major storms hit Florida so close together was 1950, when Hurricane Easy hit the Tampa area and Hurricane King struck Miami about six weeks later. Neither of those storms were as powerful as Charley or Frances.


Posted on Fri, Sep. 03, 2004

Hurricane Frances slowed its forward progress as it approached Florida this morning, and the state's most ominous storm since Hurricane Andrew loomed just over the horizon.

More than 2.5 million people from South Florida to Daytona Beach were told to flee their homes, the largest evacuation in state history.

As the storm drew closer, it pummeled the Bahamas. In Nassau this morning, the sky was pitch black and tropical storm-force winds grew into hurricane-force winds greater than 74 mph. A few trees already were uprooted, while others swayed heavily in the hot, salted air.

Frances' leading edge of squalls should arrive in South Florida in a few hours, though its more prolonged rain and persistent rain might not arrive until late tonight. Its potentially catastrophic core seemed certain to strike Saturday night -- somewhere in Florida. The system could claw through the state until early Monday, prolonging the pain and intensifying the damage.

The storm weakened a bit over night, but it remained a very dangerous Category 3 hurricane with 120-mph winds.

The official forecast called for it to re-intensify to a Catetory 4 with 140-mph winds before landfall of the core, but forecasters characterized their intensity predictions as ''low confidence'' because the conditions controlling it for the next day or so were unusually complex.

In the end, a well-placed sense of foreboding blanketed Florida.

''I'm very scared,'' said Sylvia Alvaro, 56, of Kendall, whose husband was attaching plywood to their apartment's windows after dark Thursday. ``I went through Andrew. We thought we were going to die. All you can do is pray.''

Evacuation orders covered 260,000 residents of coastal areas in Miami-Dade County and 250,000 people in Broward County. Countless Floridians nailed, screwed in, rolled out shutters, transforming their homes into tin cans or plywood exhibits. Evacuees jammed many roads.

Officials pleaded with residents to respond calmly to the emergency, but to respond immediately. Time was running out -- and it will expire later today.

''This is going to be a very major, damaging, destructive event,'' said Craig Fugate, state director of emergency management. ``The best help and the first help are going to be your neighbors.''

Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport will close at 10 a.m. today. Miami International Airport is open but carefully monitoring wind conditions, and American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and other major carriers planned to suspend service later today. Port Everglades and the Port of Miami-Dade are closed.

''This is not what we had planned,'' said Lucy Auerbach, a British tourist whose Miami Beach vacation turned into a Miami Beach evacuation. ``This has really turned into a nightmare.''

''It's only going to get worse,'' said Randy Pfost, meteorologist in charge of the National Weather Service's South Florida office.

A prophetic indicator of trouble ahead: Workmen put up storm shutters Thursday at the National Hurricane Center in West Miami-Dade County.


Forecasters said the storm's outlying squalls -- just a sample of its destructive power -- could begin sweeping Miami-Dade and Broward counties around noon, followed by tropical storm-force winds, torrential downpours and, possibly, hurricane winds.

Frances' eye and the rare Category 4 winds of 145 mph that surround it could strike anywhere, though forecasters said the mostly likely -- though not certain -- spot was between Palm Beach and Vero Beach and the most likely time was around midday Saturday.


''This thing scares everybody,'' said Theresa Bibo, 60. ``On a scale of one to 10, I'm up to a seven.''

A resident of a mobile home park in Vero Beach, she was packing up clothes, medicine, important documents and precious photos. At the moment, Vero Beach was in Frances' cross-hairs.

Forecasters said the hurricane's ultimate effect on Miami-Dade and Broward depended on the storm's ultimate track, intensity and forward speed -- and all of that remained difficult to gauge.

The storm's eye wobbled a bit during the day and its power waned a bit at night, diminishing -- if that term could be used -- to a 125-mph Category 3 storm. Forecasters said they expected Frances to regain its Category 4 strength before it reaches the mainland.

With luck, South Florida will remain on the west side of the core, which usually is weaker -- though forecasters said that might not be the case this time. Regardless, the region seemed in store for many hours of wind and rain.

The details of what to expect in Miami-Dade and Broward, according to forecasters:

Up to eight inches of rain in an already saturated area. Substantial street flooding. A 24-hour battering by winds ranging from 39 to 74 mph that fell trees and damage some structures. Large-scale power outages.

And that was the best case scenario at the moment. The core still could shift much closer to Miami-Dade and Broward before landfall, forecasters said.

''We can't let South Florida off the hook yet,'' said hurricane specialist James Franklin.

Those with the misfortune of being near the main point of attack could endure 20 inches of rain, possible tornadoes, a storm surge of seven to 15 feet along the coast and devastating floods inland, forecasters said.

Especially vulnerable are communities along the Kissimmee River south of Orlando, where Hurricane Charley filled the river and connected lakes to the brim just three weeks ago.

Experts also worried about a huge coastal storm surge and the effect of the wind and rain on Lake Okeechobee, where the dike was expected to hold but some islands seemed certain to be submerged.

The storm was huge -- much larger than Hurricane Andrew, which ravaged South Miami-Dade in 1992. And it is slower moving, too.

The East Coast from Florida City in Miami-Dade to Flagler Beach, north of Daytona Beach, was covered by a hurricane warning. That means hurricane conditions are expected within 24 hours.

About 14.6 million of Florida's 17 million people live in the areas under hurricane watches and warnings.

A flood watch was in effect in Miami-Dade and Broward counties until 8 p.m. Sunday. An inland hurricane wind watch covered western Miami-Dade and Broward.

''People inland will get as much wind as the people on the beaches,'' said James Lushine, the National Weather Service's severe weather expert for South Florida.

As Frances drew near, Miami-Dade officials ordered the evacuation of all 260,000 people who live in Miami Beach or elsewhere along the coast and Biscayne Bay. Also included were residents of mobile homes and the 8 ½-Square Mile Area in the East Everglades.

''We want people to take the order very, very seriously,'' said Miami-Dade Mayor Alex Penelas.

Broward officials told 250,000 people to leave mobile homes and all structures along and near the beaches or in low-lying areas.

Officials emphasized that evacuees should seek shelter farther west in their own counties with relatives or friends rather than further congest overcrowded roads. To ease the pressure, tolls were suspended on virtually all toll roads.

Numerous public shelters opened in both counties -- and all along Florida's Atlantic coast.

''Let's hunker down and batten down the hatches,'' said Tony Carper, Broward County's director of emergency management.

Statewide, the evacuation was the largest in history, surpassing the 1.3 million people urged to leave when Hurricane Floyd threatened but missed the state in 1999.

And so, an atmosphere of crisis prevailed everywhere.

Gasoline and diesel fuel were in short supply and long lines formed at supermarkets. Automatic teller machines ran out of cash. Some evacuees encountered bumper-to-bumper traffic.

Along Florida's central East Coast, mobile home parks turned into ghost towns as residents lowered shutters and headed for shelter with friends in more substantial houses or left the area.

''Alabama, that's the closest reservation we could get,'' Sally Simmons, 69, said as she loaded ice and soft drinks into her mini-van.


Meanwhile, people lined up more than 300 deep at Vero Beach stores, waiting more than seven hours for plywood.

``I'm nervous, I'm scared,` said Faith Irizarry, 27, in line at a Home Depot in Fort Pierce. ``I'm afraid I will lose all the things I can't replace.''

Her plight and that of the entire state attracted attention at the highest levels.

''I have been preoccupied with this very, very large hurricane that is bearing down on Florida,'' Andrew Card, President Bush's chief of staff, said in New York, site of the Republican National Convention.

To minimize any delay in aiding victims, state and federal emergency officials announced an immediate merging of forces ''so that we will overwhelm the needs of the victims,'' Fugate said.

Said Bill Carwile, a coordinating officer for the Federal Emergency Management Agency: ``We want to have a massive response.''

Herald staff writers Ina Paiva Cordle, Wanda J. DeMarzo, Tere Figueras, Mary Ellen Klas, Phil Long, Curtis Morgan, David Ovalle, Charles Rabin and Nicole White contributed to this report.

Posted on Fri, Sep. 03, 2004
R E L A T E D    L I N K S
 •  Locals, tourists seek haven from Frances
 •  There's no rest for weary FPL repair workers
 •  Flood threat worries water managers
 •  The statewide scramble is on
 •  Boat owners find storage space at a premium
 •  Don't panic -- you can still prepare yourself and home
 •  Hurricane facts
 •  Vacationers' losses could be minimized
 •  Last-minute questions and answers


Residents and tourists slow to act in Miami-Dade

Residents responded slowly to orders to evacuate Miami Beach, adjacent beach towns and the mainland shoreline Thursday, but anxious and unhappy tourists forced from shuttered hotels began filling some public shelters.

Police visited mobile home parks to urge residents to leave, while Miami-Dade Mayor Alex Penelas urged about 260,000 residents in evacuation zones to heed the warnings.

''You don't want to find yourself tomorrow with a rush to evacuate, that's the worst possible situation,'' Penelas said in a briefing.

The Red Cross opened six shelters.

North Miami Beach High had more than 500 people by early evening, many of them tourists. About 800 special needs residents out of a total of around 1,000 had already been evacuated.

At Drew Middle School, two German couples had been forced to trade fancy Miami Beach accommodations for a section of an already-smelly corridor. For two days, said Marc Kirschner, he and girlfriend Melanie Muller had argued over whether to head north to escape Frances.

''Why the heck didn't we?'' Muller asked. ``And now it's too late because you were so indecisive.''

But others weren't ready to go.

On Southwest Eighth Street's Silver Court trailer park, one of the oldest in Miami, some residents remained unconcerned despite an earlier warning by Miami police.

''We'll see some rain and wind, but this hurricane will be moving northwest,'' said Amador Polanco, 70. ``It won't be anything that will require us to leave.''

But Polanco's brother, Juan Polanco, who lives three trailers away with his mother, was packing up his Buick with important belongings, including their residency papers.

''I have a girlfriend who lives in a sturdy house in Hialeah, and we're going over there,'' he said.

Herald staff writers Oscar Corral and Elinor J. Brecher and Herald writer Eva Busse contributed to this report.

Posted on Fri, Sep. 03, 2004
SLOW GOING: Cars line up along State Road 528 as drivers traveled west from Cocoa Beach on Thursday. GERARDO MORA/AFP-GETTY IMAGES

'Looks like rush hour' across state

Traffic snarled and tempers flared as millions fled and Hurricane Frances approached. Highways may be turned into one-way evacuation routes today.

Widespread traffic jams covered the state Thursday as millions of residents made last-minute dashes to lumberyards and grocery stores and started fleeing the coastal zones in anticipation of Hurricane Frances.

''It's not one particular spot . . . it's heavy all over,'' said Lt. Julio Pajon of the Florida Highway Patrol. ``It looks like rush hour out there. It has all day.''

South Florida emergency officials urged evacuees to head west, to inland locales, not north, considering the wide swath that Frances is expected to cut. They said several major highways across the state could be turned into one-way, westbound-only thoroughfares by early today to help accelerate last-minute evacuation efforts.

Miami-Dade officials said public bus service will cease today about two hours before tropical storm-force winds arrive, marking the effective end of the evacuation. On Thursday evening, forecasters expected those winds to arrive about 2 p.m. today.

Broward County Transit shut down Thursday, except for emergency evacuation routes.

Tri-Rail suspended commuter train service Wednesday night as CSX officials informed the regional transportation authority, which operates Tri-Rail, that they needed to begin securing crossing gates.

At times, tempers flared, especially outside gas stations as thousands tried to top off their tanks and fill spare tanks for fuel generators.

Police were called to the U-Gas station on Southwest 148th Avenue in Davie after two men grappled over the same gas nozzle, with onlookers watching in amazement.

''Someone cut in line and got into an argument, and they called us,'' Davie Officer Raul Martinez said. ``Every gas station has a little hot spot and you go to the next spot putting fires out.''

At the Shell station on Biscayne Boulevard near the Interstate 195 overpass, a man who cut into a gas line barely escaped serious harm.

''Before I knew it, three people were out of their cars screaming insults at the guy,'' said Eliezer Rivera, who couldn't believe the man cut in front of him. ``They kicked and pounded the car all over, but it was the driver they really wanted.''

In an effort to reduce the congestions, state officials suspended tolls on Florida's Turnpike, the Miami-Dade Expressway Authority highways, the Sawgrass Expressway in Broward and on westbound Alligator Alley (Interstate 75) between Fort Lauderdale and Naples.

Department of Transportation officials ordered work crews to remove traffic cones and barrels from I-95 construction zones in Palm Beach County to provide more lanes for northbound evacuees.

But across the state, traffic jams kept cropping up.

Bumper-to-bumper traffic was reported on sections of northbound I-95 between Daytona Beach and Jacksonville. Rest areas were packed along Interstate 10. Heavy congestion was reported on I-75 near the merge with Florida's Turnpike in Sumter County.

Further south, a steady river of westbound cars slowly seeped out of Brevard and Indian River counties on State Road 60, one of the few cross-Florida highways, and the BeeLine Expressway connecting Orlando with the Space Coast.

Road rage wasn't isolated to South Florida. Two tractor trailer drivers stuck in an Interstate 4 traffic jam on the north side of Orlando jumped out of their cabs and threw haymakers at each other.

''I've been a cop for 26 years, and I thought I had seen everything,'' Orange County sheriff's Chief Steve Jones, who broke up the fist fight, told The Orlando Sentinel. ``Now I can say I have seen everything.''

Herald staff writers Erika Bolstad, Hector Florin, Mary Ellen Klas, Phil Long, Susannah Nesmith, Charles Rabin and Jeanette Rivera contributed to this report.


The Department Of Homeland Security Makes Preparations For Hurricane Frances

Release Date: September 2, 2004
Release Number: HQ-04-148

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is pre-positioning personnel and supplies to ensure readiness to provide immediate emergency assistance when Hurricane Frances makes landfall. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is coordinating activities of other federal departments and with state agencies to prepare for a possible rapid response to the current Category 4 strength storm.

Nearly three weeks ago, FEMA responded to Hurricane Charley, a Category 4 hurricane that ripped through south, west and central parts of Florida with winds up to 145 miles-per-hour. FEMA is fully committed to the recovery effort and continues to work closely with state of Florida, local governments affected and private sector organizations to help the victims of Hurricane Charley. Throughout this Presidentially declared disaster from Hurricane Charley, FEMA, the State of Florida and local officials, emergency managers and citizens have functioned in a unified fashion to meet the needs of victims. FEMA has the resources to continue this recovery effort even if Hurricane Frances makes landfall and requires federal assistance.

The following activities are being conducted to prepare for the Hurricane Frances:

  • The FEMA Hurricane Liaison Team is activated at the National Hurricane Center in Miami.
  • Daily video conference calls are being conducted among various components of Homeland Security, the possible affected states, other federal partners, and the Homeland Security Council.
  • FEMA's emergency teams and resources are being deployed and configured for coordinated response to Hurricane Frances. This includes pre-staging critical commodities such as ice, water, meals, and tarps in various strategic locations to be made available to residents of affected areas.The National Disaster Medical System and Urban Search and Rescue assets are activated for immediate deployment as needed, as well as the staging of FEMA's Mobile Emergency Response Systems units.
  • Preparations are being made for Disaster Field Offices and Disaster Recovery Centers to be established in the hardest hit areas within 72 hours after a federal declaration. This will allow impacted residents to receive disaster assistance as soon as possible.
  • All the National Processing Service Centers (NPSCs) are fully staffed and ready to register and process disaster assistance applications immediately. The Internal Revenue Service has provided additional operators to support teleregistration operations.
  • Temporary housing solutions are being identified for residents who may require housing assistance as a result of the storm.
  • Homeland Security and FEMA are working with the American Red Cross and other volunteer agencies to ensure sheltering and critical needs are met immediately.
  • Homeland Security is encouraging citizens living in the areas of projected impact to take precautions immediately by reviewing emergency communications plans, stocking up water and non-perishable food, storing additional ice in the freezer, and checking batteries in a battery-powered radio so that instructions provided by local emergency management officials may be heard and followed. Most importantly, if ordered to evacuate, do so immediately.

On March 1, 2003, FEMA became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. FEMA's continuing mission within the new department is to lead the effort to prepare the nation for all hazards and effectively manage federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident. FEMA also initiates proactive mitigation activities, trains first responders, and manages the National Flood Insurance Program and the U.S. Fire Administration.


Gas stations overwhelmed in S. Florida; 
shortages `will get worse'

By Joseph Mann
Business Writer

September 3, 2004

    Long lines of motorists trying to fill their tanks before Hurricane Frances struck drained gasoline stocks at hundreds of South Florida service stations Thursday, despite oil company efforts to replenish supplies.

    At the same time, gas station operators and oil companies warned that bringing in additional gas would be delayed by the approaching hurricane.

    "Shortages will get worse," said Jim Smith, president of the Florida Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association Inc., whose members include about 5,600 small businesses. The oil companies suspended service at their Port Everglades oil terminals to protect storage tanks and other equipment from hurricane winds and flooding, he said.

    Oil companies such as Exxon Mobil Corp., Citgo Petroleum Corp. and Marathon Ashland Petroleum LLC have terminals at Port Everglades that supply gas, diesel and jet fuel to Broward, Miami-Dade, Palm Beach and nine other counties.

    "I ran out of gas [Wednesday] at around 5 p.m., and the tanker truck was supposed to come Wednesday morning, but it hasn't come yet," said Nazim Uddin, owner of the Coastal service station on the corner of Northeast Fourth Avenue and 13th Street in Fort Lauderdale. Now the company says the truck won't arrive until Sunday.

    "I had to buy gas for my car somewhere else," he added. "It's the first time I had to do that in many years."

    "We ran out about noon" on Thursday, said Sharif Faisal, who works at the Mizner Park Citgo in Boca Raton. "We just have diesel left, and I don't have any idea when we'll get more gas."

    The shortage, which started late Tuesday, was caused by a double whammy. Drivers filling up on Aug. 31, the last day of a monthlong tax holiday that saved consumers 8 cents per gallon, reduced stocks all over the state. The next day, South Florida motorists began filling up in anticipation of the storm. The net effect was to exhaust gas supplies at tri-county service stations and put a strain on stocks at Port Everglades oil terminals.

    Oil companies began to build stocks by sending tankers to Port Everglades and to resupply service stations by using tanker trucks to move fuel from the Port of Tampa to South Florida.

    As of Thursday afternoon, Exxon Mobil still had tanker trucks delivering gas from Port Everglades "on a limited basis," said spokeswoman Patty Delaney. The company, which has about 600 gas stations in Florida, has secured additional trucks to move gas from Tampa to South Florida, she added.

    "But once there are 35-mph winds, the tankers have to be off the road and in a safe location," she said. That means deliveries from Tampa or Port Everglades must be halted until the storm subsides.

    Seagoing tankers and tugs are diverted from hurricane zones, so new deliveries by sea will also have to wait until the hurricane passes.

    Oil companies try to ensure that police, fire and other public services have fuel available during an emergency. For example, Hugh Graf, spokesman for the Broward County Sheriff's Office, said patrol cars and fire and rescue vehicles had no trouble filling up, since they use two service centers contracted by the county. The Sheriff's Office has more than 1,600 uniformed officers, most of whom have take-home vehicles.

    Joseph Mann can be reached at or 954-356-4665.

    Copyright © 2004, South Florida Sun-Sentinel


Florida braces for slow hurricane

Storm's size, speed spark worries about massive flooding

September 4, 2004


STUART, Fla. -- A slightly weakened Hurricane Frances , lingered over the Bahamas on Friday on its resolute path to Florida's crowded eastern shore. By this morning, hurricane-force winds are expected to be battering the coast and by this afternoon, the center of the storm is forecast to come ashore, likely between Palm Beach and Melbourne.

The Category 2 storm is expected to wallop with winds of 105 m.p.h. and rains that could measure up to 20 inches.

For the 2.5 million residents told to clear out -- the biggest evacuation in Florida history -- and the millions of others who remained at home, Frances' tardy arrival meant yet another day of waiting and worrying.

"It's all the anticipation that really gets to you," said Frank McKnight of Wellington, Fla., which is just west of Palm Beach. He waited four hours at a hardware store to buy plywood.

Short but heavy storms known as "feeder bands" from Frances whipped through South Florida on Friday evening, leaving 170,000 Florida Power & Light Co. customers without power, spokeswoman Kathy Scott said.

A hurricane warning remained in effect for Florida's east coast, from Flagler Beach south about 300 miles, almost to the state's tip, and Gov. Jeb Bush declared a state of emergency for all of Florida.

As Frances buffeted the Bahamas, its top wind fell to 105m.p.h. from 145 m.p.h. a day earlier. And its march toward Florida slowed to 8 m.p.h. The storm's lumbering pace and monstrous size -- twice as big as devastating Hurricane Andrew in 1992 -- could mean Frances might spend hours wringing itself out over Florida, causing disastrous flooding. As it passes over open water west of the Bahamas, forecasters said its swirling winds could increase.

State meteorologist Ben Nelson said Frances might remain over Florida for two cycles of high tide, meaning two rounds of storm surges expected to be 5 to 10 feet.

"The water has nowhere to go and gets trapped because our elevation is so low," he said. "It could be a large mess."

Wind gusts in Ft. Lauderdale and West Palm Beach already had reached 70 m.p.h. Friday night.The Federal Emergency Management Agency mobilized 4,500 workers, three times the number as for Hurricane Charley.

The American Red Cross planned a larger relief operation than the one it conducted after Hurricane Andrew. Back then, the agency spent $81 million.

Bahamas battered: In the Bahamas, Hurricane Frances battered the main tourist hub of the 700-island nation Friday. Streets were almost deserted in Nassau, the capital on New Providence Island, which is home to more than two-thirds of the nation's 300,000 people. Debris littered roads, and there were scattered reports of looting, police said.

In a message dated 9/4/04 9:11:53 AM Eastern Daylight Time, writes:
22 days. In our analysis of Hurricane Charley, we neglected to mention that the storm hit on Friday, the 13th of August. Now, Frances is following just 22 days later.

Forwarded Message:
Subj: Excerpts from Newspapers about Weather 
Date: 9/4/2004 6:11:53 AM Pacific Standard Time
V. As we post this article, Hurricane Frances is churning toward the south and east coast of Florida. The hurricane looks like it will hit at Florida City and is as large as the state of Texas. Even though Frances has downgraded to a Category 3 storm, she will still pack a wallop of 125 miles per hour, and may yet strengthen back to a Category 4. She has slowed down to less than 9 miles per hour, which means she seems likely to get stronger.

Since Francis is due to hit the Florida coast some time in the early afternoon on Saturday, September 4, she follows Charley by exactly 22 days. In our analysis of Hurricane Charley, we neglected to mention that the storm hit on Friday, the 13th of August. Now, Frances is following just 22 days later.

One Accuweather model showed that Frances is likely to hit on roughly the opposite side of Florida as Charley. The storm is expected to cross Florida in the opposite diagonal path as did Charley; this projected path, if it materializes, will cross the path traversed by Charley. The city of Orlando experienced 105 mph winds from Charley ("Mighty Charley loses steam", CNN News, Friday, August 13, 2004); therefore, some residents and homeowners suffered significant damage. Additionally, public officials have not yetremoved all the debris that Charley scattered all over the region; Hurricane Frances is likely to pick up this debris and sling it like missiles. The situation could become very deadly very fast.

In NEWS1953 we demonstrated our belief that Hurricane Charley was steered so she would strike exactly at one of the major Biodiversity locations on the Florida map -- Punta Gordo. In fact, as Charley moved diagonally across the state, traveling northeast, she struck two more Biodiversity areas shown on the map as red. We shall have to wait to see how Hurricane Francis tracks.

However, if our contention is correct that government scientists are creating these storms and directing them in order to achieve the planned relocation of our population in accordance with the United Nations Biodiversity plan, we should see evidence that powerful hurricanes are increasing in numbers and intensity. Do we see such an indication? Yes, we certainly do!

NOTE:  This is a big assumption here...

NEWS BRIEF: "Monster storms increase since ’95", Knight Ridder Newspapers, carried by The State, September 3, 2004

"WASHINGTON — If it seems as if more monster hurricanes, such as the soon-to-strike Frances, are swirling off the U.S. coast, you’re right. We’re in the midst of a record-breaking decade of hurricane activity ... The past nine years, from 1995 through 2003, mark the busiest, most intense nine-year storm period on record, based on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s hurricane season index ... Since 1995, there’s been an average of 13.3 named storms, 7.7 hurricanes and 3.6 major hurricanes (with winds of more than 111 mph) each year. That’s 50 percent higher than the 118-year average of 8.6 named storms, 5.1 hurricanes and two major hurricanes a year.'

The past nine years have seen a 50% increase in powerful hurricanes over the previous 118-year average! This is exactly what we would expect if government scientists were creating storms of such intensity that they could be used for mammoth "society re-engineering". Thus, we have depicted the "Hurricane" card from the Illuminati Card Game (Read NEWS1753, NEWS1855, NEWS1856, NEWS1857, and NEWS1859 to read all about the Illuminati Card Game and its relation to the plan to overthrow this "Old World Order" so that the planned "New World Order" might be set in place].

This next news article tells us that hurricane/cyclone/typhoon activity is hitting worldwide.

NEWS BRIEF: "Storms wreak havoc worldwide", Mail & Guardian Online, 01 September 2004

"Japan's death toll from Typhoon Chaba rose to 13 on Wednesday as another powerful Pacific storm threatened to hit its southern island of Okinawa. Another four people are missing since Chaba hit Japan on Monday and wrought havoc across much of the country, flooding homes, uprooting trees and causing transport chaos.The typhoon is the third deadly storm to hit the country in two weeks."

Don't you find it interesting that multiple typhoons have hit Japan in two weeks, since Frances is following Charley in just 22 days?

"Typhoon Songda is also threatening to make landfall on Japan. Songda lashed several islands in the Northern Marianas chain on Wednesday, sending the tiny population fleeing into Japanese World War II bunkers for shelter. Songda battered Pagan and Agrihan islands, which have a combined population of 33 and are at the northern end of the United States territory. Despite winds of 193kph, officials said there have been no reports of injuries and the main islands of Saipan and Tinian have escaped damage ... The Honolulu-based Joint Typhoon Warning Centre said Songda, named after a Vietnamese river, was headed towards the Japanese island of Okinawa and would then move north toward South Korea and southern Japan." [Ibid]

This Asian region has seen its share of powerful typhoons this season, storms which have caused great damage. This article then notes the effects from Bonnie and Gaston in the United States.

"Meanwhile, Richmond, the capital of the US state of Virginia, was cleaning up on Wednesday after tropical storm Gaston stalled over the city, causing widespread flooding and reportedly killing at least five people ... Gaston ... had been expected to pass quickly over the Richmond area. But instead, it stalled for several hours, causing the James River to overflow its banks and flood several low-lying neighborhoods, turning numerous cars into a floating parade." [Ibid.]

In numerous regions of this world, hurricanes are causing havoc, especially against countries which possess an Industrial Civilization.

9-4-04 -  5 p.m.

Hurricane Frances Stalls Off Florida Coast

Saturday September 4, 2004 7:16 PM


Associated Press Writer

MELBOURNE, Fla. (AP) - Hurricane Frances stalled off the east coast of Florida on Saturday but its outer bands whipped the shore with 90 mph wind that downed trees, knocked power out to hundreds of thousands of people and ripped parts of roofs off buildings.

Tens of thousands of people fled the area as Frances carried a threat of more than a foot of rain, tornadoes and heavy flooding. Forecasters expected the storm, a Category 2 storm with 105 mph top sustained wind, to come ashore late Saturday or early Sunday somewhere along the middle of the state's Atlantic coast.

That arrival would be about a day later than initial predictions, and residents took advantage of the delay to buy canned goods and water, nail plywood sheets over windows and find shelter.

``I turned on the TV and when I saw the storm was still 130 miles away, I said, 'Now's the time to get out,''' Dana Goegelman said after leaving the barrier island community of Indialantic early Saturday. ``I was so happy to get on the other side of that bridge I could have kissed the ground.''

The few drivers out on roads Saturday dodged palm fronds and tree branches. Wind gusts in Jupiter surpassed hurricane force at 91 mph, tossing boats around like toys in the water and making it a struggle for people to stand up. Trees crashed into the street in Stuart.

The roof and a door were blown off a hangar at Palm Beach International Airport. The crew of a yacht struggled to control the vessel in pitching waves at West Palm Beach as its pilot tried to maneuver the craft to a mooring, and a sailboat drifted out of control toward a nearby bridge.

In Brevard County, two men were charged with looting for allegedly trying to break into a church.

About 2.8 million residents were told to clear out - the biggest evacuation request in Florida history - but it was unknown how many did. Major amusement parks, the Kennedy Space Center and airports serving Fort Lauderdale, Miami and Melbourne had all closed.

At 2 p.m., Frances was centered about 70 miles east of Palm Beach and had stalled. It was expected to resume drifting to the west-northwest at about 5 mph later in the day, the National Hurricane Center said.

The storm had redeveloped an eye about 80 miles across, indicating that it could strengthen slightly while over warm open water between the Bahamas and the coast, forecasters at the National Hurricane Center said. After hitting land, Frances' core appeared headed across the state toward the Panhandle.

Frances' top sustained wind speed had fallen to 105 mph Saturday, making it a Category 2 storm, down from 145 mph and Category 4 status on Thursday. But its plodding pace meant it could cause disastrous flooding. Hurricane-force wind extended outward up to 105 miles from its center.

``This is going to be a tough ride for us,'' Gov. Jeb Bush said.

State meteorologist Ben Nelson said Frances might remain over Florida for two cycles of high tide, meaning two rounds of storm surges expected to be 4 to 6 feet north of where the eye hits.

Frances was expected to come ashore along the middle of Florida's eastern coast, push across the state as a tropical storm just north of Tampa and weaken to a tropical depression as it moves over the Panhandle on Monday.

Federal Emergency Management Agency director Michael Brown warned that unlike Hurricane Charley, which slammed into Florida's coast three weeks ago, Frances ``has an awful lot of moisture with it'' that could cause dangerous floods.

``It is a massive storm,'' Brown said Saturday.

A hurricane warning was in effect along the coast from Flagler Beach south to Florida City almost to the state's tip, and Gov. Jeb Bush declared a state of emergency for the entire state.

Wind gusts toppled trees, knocked out power to about 460,000 customers along the southeast coast and peeled half the roof off Michelle Lyons' mobile home in Davie, just west of Fort Lauderdale.

``And we didn't even get the hurricane yet,'' said Lyons, 30.

The storm forced the evacuation of about 3,000 state inmates and about 500 patients at more than a dozen hospitals. Pumps were dry at many gas stations as people rushed to fill up their tanks before the storm hit, but Bush said state officials were working to resupply stations along Florida's Turnpike.

Frances could cross areas such as Orlando that were also hit by Charley, which killed 27 people and caused billions of dollars in damage in southwestern Florida.

``I've ordered teams to be in position to help the good people of that state,'' President Bush said at a campaign rally in Pennsylvania. ``But the best thing we can do here is to offer our prayers.''

Shelters received a steady influx of residents expecting to spend an unusual Labor Day weekend indoors. As of early Saturday, about 55,000 people were in shelters, and others went to hotels or friends' homes. At a Red Cross shelter in Davie, elderly residents quietly huddled over a game of cards while several people played a pickup basketball game.

``It's very organized,'' said Lucy Campos, who left a mobile home with a neighbor. ``But I can't wait to take a shower.''

By early Saturday afternoon, there had been about 831 reports of price gouging, Attorney General Charlie Crist said.

FEMA mobilized 4,500 workers, three times the number sent to help victims of Charley. Officials said they had enough people and supplies in the state to handle two disaster relief operations at once.

Gov. Bush said officials were ready to deliver 1 million meals a day along with 600 trucks of water and more than 200 trucks of ice. FEMA activated four urban search and rescue teams, while 13,000 electrical workers awaited in Alabama to enter Florida and restore power.

The Red Cross planned a larger relief operation than the one it conducted after Hurricane Andrew, when it spent $81 million.


Frances makes landfall in Florida

Up to 20 inches of rain possible, forecasters say

Saturday, September 4, 2004 Posted: 11:17 PM EDT (0317 GMT)

This animation shows Frances' movement from 6:15 p.m. to 8:45 p.m. ET Saturday.
More mega-hurricanes on horizon • Survival tips:  Storm Web sites • Gallery: Fearsome FrancesFEMA team ready to move inNational Hurricane Centerexternal link
11 p.m. Saturday ET
  • Position of center: About 35 miles (56 kilometers) northeast of Palm Beach, Florida
  • Latitude: 27.1 north
  • Longitude: 79.7 west
  • Top sustained winds: 105 mph (165 kph)
  • MIAMI, Florida (CNN) -- The western eyewall of Hurricane Frances came ashore along Florida's east coast Friday night between Palm Beach and Fort Pierce.

    Frances has maximum sustained winds near 105 mph (165 kph). Hurricane-force winds extend outward 85 miles (140 kilometers) from the storm's center, which was 35 miles northeast of Palm Beach at 11 p.m. ET.

    With the hurricane moving at about 5 mph, it will take more than 12 hours for the eastern eyewall to make landfall.

    CNN meteorologist Jacqui Jeras said Saturday evening that rain was falling at a rate of half an inch to 1 inch an hour. The hurricane center said total rainfall of up to 20 inches is expected as the storm moves across the peninsula.

    About 1.3 million homes and businesses in Florida are without electricity, power company officials said Saturday.

    Florida Power and Light, which serves 8 million people, or about half the state, is trying to restore power to 1.26 million houses, offices and shops, a company spokesman said.

    Progress Energy, serving 1.5 million people in central Florida and along the Gulf Coast, said 40,000 homes were without power.

    President Bush declared a "major disaster" for the state, making federal funding available to people in five counties: Brevard, Indian River, Martin, Palm Beach and St. Lucie.

    The Federal Emergency Management Agency said damage surveys were under way in other areas, and more counties could be designated major disaster areas as well. FEMA teams were on standby, waiting to respond when called upon. (Full story)

    Two dead in Bahamas

    At least two people were killed and a third was missing after Frances passed over the Bahamas.

    Authorities also used heavy equipment and personal watercraft to rescue about 300 people who had climbed onto rooftops to escape rising waters. A temporary shelter thought to be in a safe area was evacuated Saturday because of flooding.

    The airports in Nassau and many homes were under 5 to 6 feet of water, officials said. (Full story)

    The hurricane warning for most of the northwestern Bahamas was lifted at 5 p.m. Saturday ET. The warning remains in effect for Grand Bahama, Abaco, Bimini and the Berry Islands.

    Governor urges patience

    Federal and state officials warned people who are riding out the storm that help will come, but it may come slowly.

    Because the storm is moving so slowly, it is likely to pound areas for a long period of time. The state expects flooding, power outages, gasoline shortages and agricultural and structural damage.

    Gov. Jeb Bush said officials would work to bring necessities to those affected as quickly as possible, but warned it could take quite a while before roads are passable. Also, hundreds of thousands of people fled the state and will want to come back home, which could clog the roads, he said.

    "We're developing strategies to allow people come back, over time," Bush said. "They need to be patient." (Full story)

    At a news conference with officials from various agencies prepared to respond to the storm, Bush said, "This is going to be a storm that will redefine everybody in this room's job for a long, long time -- and redefine a whole lot of families' direction for a long, long time."

    Frances approaches Florida only weeks after another major hurricane. Charley swept across the Florida Peninsula on August 13, killing 27 people and destroying or damaging more than 30,000 homes. The Category 4 storm did an estimated $7.4 billion in insured damage.

    The Red Cross has 161 shelters and evacuation centers set up in Florida, with about 64,000 people already in them.

    FEMA said it is bringing in three times as many relief workers as it did for Charley, putting out calls for crews from as far away as Seattle, Washington.

    Despite the extensive preparations, FEMA deputy director Michael Brown warned residents who stay behind to "be prepared to take care of yourself."

    "If it dumps as much water as I expect it to, it will take some time before the first responders can move back in behind Frances to do their efforts, so people need to be patient," he said. "This water can pick up SUVs and move them hundreds of feet. You cannot fight these waters. They're killers."

    Warnings in effect statewide

    Hurricanes are classified as categories 1 to 5 on the Saffir-Simpson hurricane scale. A Category 2 storm has sustained winds between 96 and 110 mph (154 and 177 kph).

    A hurricane warning is in effect for Florida's east coast from Florida City northward to Flagler Beach. There was also a hurricane watch from north of Flagler Beach to Fernandina Beach.

    The NHC has issued a tropical storm warning from north of Flagler Beach up the Georgia coast to Altamaha Sound. It extended a tropical storm warning along Florida's west coast as well, so it now stretches from St. Marks, near Tallahassee, to just south of Florida City on the southeast coast. A tropical storm watch extends from St. Marks westward to Panama City.

    The middle and upper portion of the Florida Keys, from south of Florida City to the Seven Mile Bridge and Florida Bay, was also under a tropical storm warning.

    At least sixteen airports were closed, including Orlando, Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach. (Full story)

    Copyright 2004 CNN. All rights reserved.

    Slow-moving Frances continues assault on East Coast

    Published by on September 4, 2004

    Updated @ 9:10 p.m.

    Hurricane Frances snapped power lines and whipped Florida’s Atlantic coast with winds topping 90 mph Saturday, knocking out electricity for more nearly 2 million people and forcing millions to endure another day of waiting and worrying.

    The winds uprooted trees and peeled off roofs; coastal waters resembled a churning hot tub.

    “Those folks are getting pounded, and they’ve got worse to come,” said Max Mayfield, director of the National Hurricane Center.

    The storm’s slow-motion assault — Frances crawled toward Florida at just 5 mph before stalling over warm water — came more than a day later than predicted. The eye of the storm wasn’t expected to hit east-central Florida until early Sunday.

    En route, Frances shattered windows, toppled power lines and flooded neighborhoods in the Bahamas, driving thousands from their homes. The Freeport airport was partially submerged in water.

    Florida officials warned those in its path to be careful of the entire storm.

    “The eye of this storm is incredibly large — 70 miles in diameter — and conditions may temporarily improve,” Gov. Jeb Bush said. “It’s an eerie feeling when the eye moves over. There may be a false sense that the storm has passed. It could take about four hours for the eye of the storm to pass over you. Please don’t take that as a sign that all is well.”

    Any calm could be deceptive.

    “Don’t be fooled,” said Craig Fugate, director of the state’s Division of Emergency Management. “Watch out for the back side.”

    Assuming Frances does not hesitate again, the National Hurricane Center says the strongest winds associated with the western portion of the hurricane will reach the coast soon and continue very slowly westward or west-northwestward across Florida. After weakening over land, Frances is expected to move over the northeast Gulf of Mexico in 24 to 36 hours, where it could strengthen again.

    At about 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Florida Power & Light was reporting 1,073,300 customers without electricity, the vast majority of them on the east coast.

    About 13,300 customers lost power in Lee County during the day, but power had been restored to 12,500 of them, leaving 800 customers still in the dark.

    Another 1,500 customers in Hendry County were without power, the utility said.

    Many of Hendry County’s storm shelters were full. People evacuating from homes in western Hendry were being told to go to the Lee Civic Center and Germain Arena in Lee County.

    The hurricane is still a Category 2 storm, with winds of 105 mph over a more than 100 mile swath. Early reports of damage were beginning to make their way to the state’s emergency operations center. State meteoroligist Ben Nelson said hurricane force winds will buffet those in the storm’s path for more than 12 hours.

    “Awnings and roofs are starting to come off,” Fugate said. “There is some structural failures in some warehouses and large-span roof buildings.”

    Forecasters predict that Frances could bring more than a foot of rain to the state, while its central 105-mph winds could stir up tornadoes.

    Computer modeling by the state projects Frances could destroy more than 5,000 homes, with severe damage to more than 17,000. In the aftermath, more than 25,000 households are expected to be displaced.

    The path of Frances carries it through areas of central Florida still reeling from Hurricane Charley, which cut a swath of destruction across the state on Aug. 13.

    “Poor old DeSoto County and Charlotte County,” Bush said of Charley-damaged areas. “They're not going to get hurricane force winds but lots of rain.”

    In the last three weeks, Bush made frequent trips to those areas hit by Charley, flying over frequently the region that suffered up to $9 billion in insured damage.

    “It's the blue-tarp capital of the world,” Bush said of the temporary fixes people have used on wind-damaged roofs. “If they’re tied down right, they should be OK.”

    State officials gave assurances that resources would not be pulled from Southwest Florida to respond to Frances. The current hurricane, though, has temporarily delayed some help as state and federal agencies move personnel out of harm’s way.

    Much of the afternoon saw little more than partly sunny skies and light breezes in Southwest Florida, although a couple of outer bands of rain dropped up to 2 inches on south Lee County earlier in the day, and 4-foot storm surges hit south Collier County, according to emergency management officials.

    Forecasters predict the possibility of a 1- to 3-foot storm surge along the Southwest Florida coast when Frances comes across the state.

    The city of Clewiston in Glades County declared a curfew starting at 7 p.m. today through 7 a.m. Sunday. Hendry County officials also imposed a curfew for the eastern part of the county, telling people to stay off the streets from 7 p.m. today until 7 a.m. Sunday unless they were forced out of their homes by emergencies. The curfew was for residents living from Pioneer Plantation east to the Palm Beach County line.

    The Florida National Guard, meanwhile, has activated 3,000 troops and was sending hundreds of them south from Tampa to prepare to head to the east coast to provide aid after the storm passes.

    Many of the troops were stationed at the Lee Civic Center and were planning to head toward St. Lucie County.

    “We’re down there to help out the citizens, just like we did in Lee County and Charlotte County for the past couple weeks,” Maj. Tom Cannington said from the National Guard’s 53rd Support Battalion in Tampa.

    Southwest Florida International Airport officials grounded all flights after 3:30 p.m., with schedules continuing to change throughout the weekend, along with the weather.

    While the airport is open, officials are stressing that it is not a designated hurricane shelter so passengers should make lodging arrangements if their flight is cancelled.

    The Florida Highway Patrol told motorists they could not cross the Sunshine Skyway Bridge over Tampa Bay if they were driving tractor trailers, U-Hauls, campers and any other “high-profile” vehicles. The 37-mph wind gusts were making it too dangerous, officials said.

    The storm remains about 70 miles east/northeast of Palm Beach after blasting the Bahamas with 105-mph winds and dousing the islands with 20 inches of rain.

    “Unlike Charley, this storm has an awful lot of moisture with it,” Federal Emergency Management Director Michael Brown said, adding that most deaths from a hurricane come from inland flooding.

    That could lead to problems in Bonita Springs, the south Lee County city often overwhelmed from inland-induced sheet flow during heavy rain. Sheet flow refers to rain water creeping across saturated land.

    Mayor Jay Arend said it’s still too early to tell if Bonita will experience flooding as bad as 1995, when most of the homes in the central city area had water in them.

    “The concern we have is the flooding from the sheet flow,” he said. “If the storm dumps 20 inches of rain north of us and it flows to the basin of the Imperial River, we’re going to have a pretty bad flood.”

    The winds in Lee County were measured at 44 mph around noon. Officials said they could begin gusting to up to 70 mph Sunday morning as the storm moves across the state.

    The speed of Frances will make the immediate recovery difficult. But the slow forward movement has allowed state and federal coordinators to stage in safe areas as far north as southern Georgia, ready to go as soon as Frances clears.

    More than 600 trucks of water and 237 trucks of ice are set to roll. State and charitable agencies are prepared to provide 1 million meals a day.

    In the Bahamas, at least two people died in the hurricane, said Jeffrey Simmons, a spokesman at the Bahamas Meteorology Department. A man’s body was found Saturday morning on the north end of Grand Bahama Island, where storm-related flooding was more severe, and a second man was electrocuted Friday, he said. Another man is missing after his house collapsed, Simmons said.

    Three people remain missing after the U.S. Coast Guard received a radio call Thursday reporting a 33-foot pleasure boat was in distress about 12 miles west of Bimini, Bahamas. The Coast Guard has stopped actively searching for the vessel because of the weather, it said in a release.

    Wind gusts reached 91 mph at Jupiter Inlet north of West Palm Beach. Florida Power & Light pulled crews off the streets because of heavy wind, meaning hundreds of thousands of customers would have to wait for power until the storm subsided.

    Roads, streets and beaches were mostly deserted — the occasional surfer notwithstanding. Roads were littered with palm fronds and other debris. Businesses were shuttered and even gas stations were closed, their empty pumps covered with shrink wrap.

    Not everyone stayed home: Two men were charged with looting for trying to break into a Brevard County church.

    As the weather worsened, a yacht adrift on the Intercoastal Waterway in West Palm Beach struggled for more than half an hour in choppy water to anchor before tying up to a dock. Other boats bobbed like toys. The roof and a door were blown off a hangar at Palm Beach International Airport.

    Kevin Palmer, a photographer in Palm Beach County, said the wind blew so hard at his front door that it was making the copper weather stripping around it vibrate and shriek violently.

    “It’s become our high-gust alarm,” Palmer said. “It sets the tone for your ambiance when you’ve got the rumbling outside, you have this screeching from the weather stripping and you keep wondering if that thumping you just heard is another tree going over or a coconut going flying.”

    Normally a huge tourist draw in Florida, Labor Day weekend became a time for evacuation for 2.5 million residents — the biggest evacuation in Florida history. Tourists were stranded or cancelled their plans to visit Florida.

    When residents return, they could take part in the $20 billion in damages claimed, an estimate given by Risk Management Solutions Inc. Charley, according to a Property Claim Service review, will cost the insurance industry $6.8 billion.

    — Bloomberg News and the Associated Press wire services contributed to this report


    Storm refugee village sprouts in Venice

    No sooner did they get settled in when they were told to evacuate to the Pine View School emergency shelter.

    The Caribbean Bay Club, 899 Knights Trail Road, has become the temporary home for up to 1,300 Hurricane Charley victims as Hurricane Frances approaches a probable Florida landfall.

    "We are waiting for another bus," volunteer Cynthia Herleman said. "There are 50 or 60 of them, they all want to be together."

    She said many of the evacuees have found refuge on their own.

    The temporary storm refugee camp was under a mandatory evacuation issued by the city of Venice.

    The basics

    Prior to the evacuation order, the encampment was humming along, taking one step at a time.

    "The majority of them are the poorest of the poor from Port Charlotte, Fort Myers, Arcadia, Punta Gorda," Herleman said. "They need pots and pans, water, medicine, transportation."

    The Federal Emergency Management Agency has put 360 trailers on the site formerly known as Stay-N-Play RV Resort. Each trailer houses on average four people. Presently, about 100 of the trailers are occupied.

    Herleman said the volunteers have made great progress in getting the trailers equipped.

    "Self sufficiency is No. 1," she said.

    The Federal Emergency Management Agency provided the housing.

    Translators wanted

    Herleman said up to half of the displaced hurricane victims are Hispanic.

    "We desperately need translators," she said. "Right now, we only have one."

    Herleman said an interfaith religious consortium has come forward to assist.

    "Church groups are going trailer-to-trailer," Herleman said, "asking how many kids are there, what are their ages, what are their needs."

    Herleman also said special attention is being paid to senior citizens left homeless by the storm.

    Skeeters and gators

    The environment itself presents some problems.

    Herleman said there are lakes in that area. That, in addition to the heavy rains, spells mosquitoes.

    "There's the mosquito abatement issue and the red ants are unbelievable," she said. "There are children and pets; we have to make sure they stay away from the lakes because of the alligators."

    Herleman said trappers have been brought in to deal with the gators.

    Venice responds

    Venice Mayor Dean Calamaras said the city is setting up solid waste pick-up. In the meantime, dumpsters are being used as waste repositories.

    "Police and fire have already been out there making sure each unit is numbered so they can find it in an emergency," Calamaras said. "We are working with the owners of the park, who are in the water and sewer permitting process, so we are doing everything we can to make sure that runs smoothly."

    Calamaras said U.S. Congresswoman Katherine Harris is scheduled to visit and assess progress at the site on Monday.

    "She and I will be doing a site inspection to see what else is needed," Calamaras said. "There might be some things that only FEMA and the state or the Red Cross can provide."

    Venice Police Deputy Chief Dan McGoogan said the burgeoning emergency city already has produced a couple of minor incidents.

    "We have responded to a couple of different disturbances," McGoogan said. "Arguments, nothing serious."

    You can e-mail Tommy McIntyre

    By Tommy McIntyre

    Staff Writer


    9-5-04 - 11 a.m.

    Hurricane Frances smothers Florida with winds, heavy rain


    STUART -- Hurricane Frances weakened slightly but pounded Florida relentlessly with high wind and heavy rain Sunday after it smashed across the state's east coast, knocking out power to at least 4 million people and forcing residents to withstand a prolonged lashing that shredded roofs and uprooted trees.

    Some evacuees had to flee a second time when a school's roof was partially blown off.

    At dawn, the storm had weakened, with maximum sustained winds near 95 mph, making it a Category 1 hurricane, but forecasters warned the storm track would bring the center of the hurricane back over the warm water of the northeastern Gulf of Mexico. They said it was possible Frances would regain intensity by Monday evening.

    The eye of the storm blew ashore at Sewall's Point, just east of Stuart, around 1 a.m. Frances was expected to remain over the state for most of the day, dumping 8 to 12 inches of rain, with up to 20 inches in some areas. Frances was so big that virtually the entire state feared damage from wind and heavy rain - about 230 miles of coastline, from the Deerfield Beach area northward to Flagler Beach - remained under a hurricane warning as dawn approached Sunday.

    "I wish somebody'd get out there and push it - get it over with," said 72-year-old Nedra Smith, who waited out the storm in the lobby of a Palm Bay hotel.

    Diane Wright, of Fort Pierce, spent the night with her pets in her unshuttered mobile home, which only lost its laundry room. The 61-year-old disabled landscaper said she normally listens to Christian radio but she admits watching the news for the last two days.

    "I feel like God's mad at me. I need to start listening to Christian radio again," she said Sunday.

    The largest evacuation in state history, with 2.8 million residents ordered inland, sent 86,000 residents and tourists into shelters. Miami-Dade County told about 320,000 residents they could return home Sunday. The storm shut down much of Florida, including airports and amusement parks, at the start of the usually busy Labor Day weekend.

    President Bush declared a major disaster in the counties affected by Frances, meaning residents will be eligible for federal aid.

    Four people were hospitalized in Boynton Beach after breathing carbon monoxide fumes from a generator that was running in a house. No other injuries were immediately reported.

    Frances' arrival came three weeks after Hurricane Charley killed 27 people and caused billions of dollars in damage in southwestern Florida.

    Before lumbering into Florida, Frances shattered windows, toppled power lines and flooded neighborhoods in the Bahamas, forcing thousands from their homes. The Freeport airport was partially submerged in water. At least two deaths in the Bahamas were blamed on the storm.

    In Palm Bay, winds pried off pieces of a banquet hall roof, striking some cars in the parking lot. Trees were bent and light posts wobbled in the howling gusts. Further south in Fort Pierce, the storm shredded awnings and blew out business signs. Many downtown streets were crisscrossed with toppled palm trees.

    In Stuart, where the eye came ashore, traffic lights dangled, and one hung by a single wire. Downed trees blocked at least one residential street, and signposts were bent to the ground. The facade at a flooring store collapsed, as did the roof of a storage shed at a car dealership.

    In Melbourne, 65 miles north of Stuart, the wind and rain looked like a giant fire hose going off at full blast.

    "I've never seen anything like this, and no one in my family has," said Darlene Munson, who was riding out the storm with family members at her Melbourne restaurant.

    Roads, streets and beaches were mostly deserted - the occasional surfer notwithstanding. Roads were littered with palm fronds and other debris. Businesses were shuttered and even gas stations were closed, their empty pumps covered with shrink wrap.

    At 8 a.m., the center of the hurricane was about 40 miles east of Sebring, which is 70 miles southeast of Tampa. The storm was crawling west at 8 mph. Sustained winds were about 95 mph, down from 105 mph when it made landfall. The National Hurricane Center said one gust was clocked at 115 mph at Fort Pierce and damaged the mast of a truck measuring the storm's intensity. Florida Power & Light pulled crews off the streets because of heavy wind, meaning those without power would have to wait until the storm subsided, spokesman Bill Swank said.

    The utility, the state's largest electric company, said power outages to its customers affected 2 million people. Nearly all of Vero Beach, 30 miles north of Stuart, was blackened, the city's utility said.

    In Martin County, where Stuart is located, 630 people taking shelter at a school had to move to another shelter when part of the roof blew off, flooding 16 rooms. More than 300 people were able to remain in the school.

    For thousands of Floridians spending the night in a shelter, the storm forced them to pause.

    "It's just a matter of patience," said Bishop G.A. White, 77, pastor of the Fort Pierce Church of the Living God. "Wait on the Lord, and wait on the weather."

    Forecasters said the slow movement and large eye would mean several hours of calm for some locations after they were battered by the strongest winds.

    "I just urge people to be close to their families, love their children, stay safe and stay with them ... and know that help is on the way," said Gov. Jeb Bush, who hopes to fly to hard-hit areas later Sunday.

    Meanwhile, Hurricane Ivan formed Sunday in the central Atlantic. The fifth hurricane of the season was about 1,210 miles east-southeast of the Lesser Antilles with winds of 75 mph.

    Frances Floods Florida, Leaves Three Dead

    By ALLEN G. BREED, Associated Press Writer

    FORT PIERCE, Fla. - Hurricane Frances' wind and water whacked swaths of Florida with fire-hose force Sunday, submerging entire roadways and tearing off rooftops before weakening to a tropical storm and crawling inland with heavy rain. More than 5 million people lost power, and three people were killed.

    Over 13 inches of rain fell along Florida's central east coast, flooding some areas four feet deep, as a weakened Frances edged across the state toward Tampa and the Gulf of Mexico. In its wake, trees and power lines were leveled, broken traffic lights dangled and beachfront roads were littered with coconuts, avocados and tree limbs.

    "I was just waiting for the house to blow down," said Diane Wright, who rode out the storm in a mobile home in Fort Pierce.

    Hers didn't. But even shelters weren't spared: The roof at a school housing evacuees was partially blown off.

    The scope of the enormous storm was evident Sunday as bands of rain and gusty wind extended the length of the state's 430-mile east coast from the Keys to Jacksonville and beyond along the Georgia coast. It was expected to move into the panhandle Monday, then into Georgia and Alabama.

    The storm was blamed for at least three deaths in Florida, including two people who were killed Saturday when their roof collapsed in Palm Beach County. Another man was killed when his car hit a tree near Gainesville. There were two earlier deaths in the Bahamas, where thousands were forced from their homes.

    Frances razed several mobile homes and made a mess of marinas, throwing dozens of pleasure boats against the shore or on top of each other.

    Gov. Jeb Bush and 20 state and federal emergency officials surveyed damage Sunday as they flew from Tallahassee to West Palm Beach, but the governor said it was too early to assess the extent of the devastation.

    Officials warned the aftermath could pose even greater risks. "There are still dangers on our streets where the hurricane passed," Jeb Bush said. "Please be patient."

    President Bush talked to his brother on Sunday afternoon to assure Floridians that federal resources were in place to help respond, a White House spokesman said.

    Some 8,000 members of the National Guard were assigned to recovery efforts. Suspected looters were arrested in Palm Beach, Orange and Indian River counties.

    Once a Category 4 hurricane with winds of 145 mph, Frances slowed and weakened to a Category 2 storm as it neared Florida. Winds receded to a peak of 105 mph before it made landfall at Sewall's Point, north of Palm Beach, around 1 a.m. EDT. One gust was clocked at 115 mph.

    "We don't know what all of our damage is yet, but we know it could have been a lot worse," Martin County administrator Russ Blackburn said.

    Initial reports of destruction did not rival the estimated $7.4 billion in insured damage caused by Hurricane Charley in southwest Florida three weeks ago. Frances' path overlapped with some of the area hit by Charley, which killed 27 people. One risk-assessment company estimated insured losses could range from $2 billion to $5 billion.

    By Sunday evening, Frances had been downgraded to a tropical storm, with maximum winds near 65 mph and its center about 15 miles east of Tampa. The storm, which was crawling west-northwest at 8 mph, could regain hurricane strength over the Gulf of Mexico before renewing its plodding assault on the Florida Panhandle.

    The storm shut down much of Florida on the traditionally busy Labor Day weekend.

    At one time, about 2.8 million residents in 40 counties were told to evacuate from coastal areas, barrier islands, mobile homes and low-lying areas. The largest evacuation in state history sent 108,000 people to shelters.

    Airports in Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Martin County reopened, but those in Orlando and about 10 other cities remained closed. Officials in Miami and Fort Lauderdale told evacuees they could return home. Miami's airport was crowded with tourists whose vacations were ruined or interrupted by Frances.

    New evacuations began in four counties in Florida's Panhandle, where Frances is expected to hit Monday after crossing the northeast Gulf of Mexico. The most likely location for landfall was St. George Island, forecasters said.

    Northbound Interstate 95 was closed in Palm Beach County because of a washout. Farther north, about two dozen large oak trees obstructed parts of I-95 over a 50-mile stretch. Authorities closed the majestic Sunshine Skyway Bridge across Tampa Bay. In Martin County, 630 evacuees at a school were forced to another shelter when part of the roof blew off, flooding 16 rooms.

    Heavy rain transformed some neighborhoods into waterfront property. Roads in Palm Beach County were covered by up to four feet of water. Neighbors waded to each others' homes after being shuttered inside for nearly 24 hours.

    "All our trees are down and I have a few windows broken, but I don't know what else is flooded because I can't get anywhere," said Carline Cadet, waving at the water covering the streets around her home.

    Police blocked access to the county's barrier islands, including Palm Beach and Singer Island, and enforced a 24-hour curfew. Officials said roads were too dangerous for travel.

    State officials suggested motorists conserve gasoline. The governor signed an order giving the state authority to regulate fuel supplies, assigning priority for the next week to emergency workers, cleanup crews and military operations.

    Some attributed the storm's weakening to answered prayers. Frances forced the cancellation of church services across much of the state, but seven people ventured out to attend a service at Miami Lakes United Methodist Church.

    "It's still the Lord's day," the Rev. Mark Caldwell said. "It's our destiny to show the world we can come here and be thankful."

    At a mobile home park in north Fort Pierce, Timothy Fellows emerged from the storm to find a neighbor's trailer demolished but only a fence down on his property.

    "My trailer survived!" the barechested Fellows shouted as he walked through his yard. "Because I believe in God. Even my mailbox survived. That tells you something."

    Elsewhere in Fort Pierce, a large steel railroad crossing signal downtown was twisted like a corkscrew. Gas station awnings sat on their sides blocking the pumps. Downtown streets were crisscrossed with toppled palm trees.

    Along the waterfront, eight sail and fishing boats lay on their sides, broken apart in a row at the city's marina. On nearby Hutchinson Island, the Royal Inn lost its entire roof and a hole was punched on the side of the building.

    Ramiro Venegas, an itinerant worker from Mexico, said the storm forced him to spend two nights sleeping in a men's toilet at a Fort Pierce marina. He had been staying in his girlfriend's car until she ditched him two days earlier.

    "I'm thirsty, I'm hungry, and I'm soaking wet," Venegas said.

    Despite warnings, some evacuees were eager to venture out to inspect their homes.

    Gabriela Balderas and her two children left the shelter at West Gate Elementary School in West Palm Beach to see what was left at their mobile home.

    "We have been waiting so long to leave. They say we might not be able to get home, but we have to try," she said.

    Police in the Orlando area said 10 thieves used a stolen car to smash into a store and steal about $10,000 worth of clothing, and two men were arrested as they tried to steal an ATM machine with a chain saw.

    Also Sunday, at the peak of the hurricane season, Ivan became the fifth hurricane of the year in the central Atlantic. It was about 820 miles east-southeast of Barbados with winds near 125 mph. Under current projections, Puerto Rico and Barbados are in the storm's path. Officials said it was too soon to say whether Ivan would hit the United States.

    Associated Press writers Jill Barton in West Palm Beach, Bill Kaczor in Port Charlotte, Tim Reynolds in Stuart, Mike Schneider in Orlando and Angie Wagner in Palm Bay also contributed to this story.

    2nd Hurricane Deepens Wounds in Stricken Florida


    Published: September 6, 2004

    ORLANDO, Fla., Sept. 5 - Hurricane Frances relentlessly enveloped most of Florida on Sunday in severe squalls, lashing rain and scattershot destruction. In its wide wake, millions of residents were left without power and hundreds of thousands without ready access to gasoline, groceries or other daily staples. Doors and roofs were ripped from an uncounted number of homes and businesses, leaving them exposed to the 6 to 10 inches of rain that poured over them by late afternoon.

    Two deaths were reported as the hurricane plodded across the peninsula on a path that took it to some of the same stops that Hurricane Charley visited three weeks ago. In the Gainesville area, a man was killed when his car hit a tree, and a woman died when a tree crashed into her mobile home, The Associated Press reported.

    Two people had been killed in storm-related accidents in the Bahamas before the eye of Hurricane Frances crossed Florida's eastern coastline at Sewall's Point, north of Palm Beach, at 1 a.m. on Sunday.

    Florida's infrastructure took a major pounding. In West Palm Beach, rainwater undercut a section of the right lane of northbound Interstate 95, creating a sinkhole that tore away parts of the roadway and a guard rail.

    Economic analysts estimated that the damage caused by Hurricanes Charley and Frances together could be as much as $40 billion.

    At a time when hurricanes seem a chronic affliction here - Hurricane Ivan, a storm recently spawned in the eastern Atlantic, is providing new grist for anxiety - many battered and exhausted residents seemed relieved that the slow, huge bulk of Hurricane Frances had not inflicted more pain. The sustained winds of 105 miles per hour when the hurricane crossed the eastern coastline - which made it a Category 2 hurricane - dwindled to 70 m.p.h., the level of topical storm winds, as it approached the western coastline near Tampa 18 hours later.

    The storm's center reached the west coast just before midnight, weather officials said.

    "Evidently our hopes and prayers did help, because I truly think it could have been worse," said Ronald G. Swank, the mayor of Titusville, a town across the Indian River from the Kennedy Space Center, where 90 m.p.h. winds left the tan roof of DeForest Realty draped across Route 1, along with a tangle of downed poles and power lines. In Kennedy Point Yacht club, a houseboat had impaled itself on a nearby sailboat, and virtually no business on Route 1 still possessed a sign by dusk, said Todd Hutchinson, a spokesman for the town's emergency operations center.

    But the storm could regain its strength as it passes over the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico on the way to the Florida panhandle. Many residents of four Panhandle counties were urged to evacuate. In the rest of the state, nearly 100,000 people had taken refuge in 408 temporary shelters, and 16 counties had declared some kind of curfew.

    Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida, visiting the National Hurricane Center in Miami after surveying storm damage in a brief visit to Palm Beach County on Sunday afternoon, said that one good thing about two powerful hurricanes in a row was that it rid the state of "hurricane amnesia," a condition he said afflicted many residents because they had not experienced a major storm in years.

    "We don't have that anymore," Mr. Bush said. "We've have had it up to this year because we dodged a few bullets."

    In areas like Orlando, which suffered much worse damage during Hurricane Charley but went through a milder, if far longer, ordeal this time around, it was limbs, not whole trees, that were most often the cause of roof damage or road blockage.

    The brown leafy debris left by Hurricane Charley skittered across the roads and parking lots ahead of Hurricane Frances' winds, and in a few places, a pile of debris was nearly blotted from sight by the still-green branches that fell early on Sunday morning.

    Inland, in Polk County, where the eye of Hurricane Frances crossed over the path that the eye of Hurricane Charley had taken last month, a few squat orange trees, which had already largely been stripped of their fruit, cracked and toppled shortly before the peak of the storm passed through. Polk County had already lost 20 percent of its orange crop - damage that will most likely affect juice prices in a few years.

    Hillsborough plant dumps toxic waste into bay

    Cargill phosphate company releases about 60 million gallons of acidic waste water after a dike breaks -- and may release more.

    A fertilizer company has dumped about 60 million gallons of toxic waste water into Hillsborough Bay since Sunday, and plans to release more if the rain continues.

    Phosphate company Cargill Crop Nutrition started dumping the waste water into a nearby creek about noon Sunday after a section of the dike holding it broke. The dike, or gypsum stack, holds more than 1 billion gallons of acidic, radioactive waste water, a byproduct of the fertilizer production process.

    The plant sits on the man-made Archie Creek, less than a mile from Hillsborough Bay, which feeds into Tampa Bay.

    Workers hastily added caustic soda to the waste water in the hope it would lower the acidity and radioactivity as it was discharged into the creek. Cargill and state officials acknowledge they don't know how effective the treatment will be, or what effect the dumping will have on Hillsborough Bay.

    "It's really hard for us to gauge what the environmental impact will be," said Russell Schweiss, a spokesman for the state Department of Environmental Protection. "We've never really dealt with this situation in a hurricane, so we really don't know what we're looking at."

    Any environmental damage from the spill could be compounded by Hurricane Frances sending debris and storm-water runoff into the bay, Schweiss said.

    Cargill workers patched the 6-foot-high, 50-foot-wide hole at the top of the stack by Monday afternoon when it had dumped 40 million gallons, but the stack was so full company officials said they expected to continue releasing water into the creek until early this morning. An extra 20 million gallons was expected to be released.

    "Our goal was not to release water. But when it built up we decided we had no choice but to open the valve and let some water out," said Cargill vice president Gray Gordon.

    Environmentalists said the spill will do substantial damage to the creek and bay.

    "It'll be a very short period of time before we see the devastating effect this will have on the waterway," said Glenn Compton, president of the group ManaSota-88.

    "Quite frankly I'm surprised they haven't seen fish kills yet."

    Hillsborough County Commissioner Jan Platt said based on past spills, she expects the worst.

    "They kill fish. They kill sea grass. They're very detrimental to the sea life that for the past 25 years we've been trying to re-establish in the bay. That's why it's so unfortunate for this to occur," Platt said.

    Cargill blamed the spill on the 21/2 feet of rain the plant has received since July, including 8 inches from Hurricane Frances.

    "We thought we were in good shape, but we've just been getting too much rain," Gordon said. "We as a company hate that this happened, and we're going to do whatever it takes to clean it up."

    Cargill is scrambling to find a place to put millions of gallons of waste water to prevent further damage to the dike. In addition to releasing the water into nearby Archie Creek, the company is filling a 238-acre holding pond that hadn't been used for years. It is also dumping the water into another gypsum stack that had been filled with dirt, grass and trees nearly 15 years ago.

    The company has touted that gypsum stack as the only one in the state to be successfully capped and closed.

    State officials recently closed a gypsum stack at Piney Point Phosphate Plant near Port Manatee. It plans to cap the stack as soon as it can.

    The DEP dumped more than 500 million gallons of partially treated waste water into Bishop Harbor and Tampa Bay after the stacks nearly overflowed during Tropical Storm Gabrielle three years ago. Large algae blooms have occurred in the bay since the massive dumpings.

    The DEP has said cleanup at Piney Point should be completed by 2008, at a cost of at least $150 million.

    "Now Hillsborough has got its own Piney Point," Platt said.

    With Hurricane Ivan on the way, and the prospect of another downpour, Cargill may have to dump even more waste water into Hillsborough Bay.

    The plant was not prepared to release water, and had only one tanker truck of the caustic soda on hand. Three dozen more were brought to the site Sunday and Monday, but before they arrived some untreated water was dumped into the creek, Gordon said.

    He didn't know how much of the waste water going into the creek was untreated.

    "In hindsight, it probably would've been good to have more than one truck here," Gordon said.

    Schweiss, with the DEP, said the agency will make sure Cargill cleans up any damage caused by the spill. He said the agency will decide later whether to fine the phosphate company.

    "Our main concern is making sure everything is under control," Schweiss said. "The enforcement will come later."

    Platt and Compton said the spill highlights the need for tougher DEP oversight of phosphate processing plants. Allowing such plants near important waterways is "a disaster waiting to happen," Platt said.

    She said she intends to push state legislators to write laws prohibiting fertilizer plants near water, and tighten other rules governing such plants.

    Compton said it's just a matter of time before one or more of the two dozen fertilizer plants in the state have similar problems.

    "It's unfortunate that this industry hasn't figured out how to dispose of this waste in a responsible manner," he said.



    Tropical Storm Frances gave Florida one last kick before finally exiting the state Monday.

    On its way out through the Florida Panhandle, the storm's trailing edges kicked up a 4- to 6-foot surge along the Southwest Florida coast, causing flooding in downtown Tampa and other areas.

    Frances, which began affecting the state's weather Friday, continued to pelt parts of Florida with heavy rains and high winds. Runoff from heavy rains in Central Florida over the weekend began making its way downstream, raising the prospect of flooding in the Peace River and other waterways.

    Residents on the east coast, where Frances' eye came ashore early Sunday as a Category 2 hurricane, began cleaning up a mess of downed trees, tangled power lines and debris blown by winds that reached 105 mph.

    They were among a record 3.3 million customers -- representing a total of 6 million people statewide -- left without electricity. Power outages were reported in 57 of Florida's 67 counties, including hard-hit Palm Beach, Martin and St. Lucie, where 20 percent or less of the population had service.

    Although the sun returned Monday in parts of Southwest Florida, about 53,000 customers remained without power in Charlotte, DeSoto, Manatee and Sarasota counties.

    Officials locally said that aside from limited beach erosion, minor flooding, downed trees and roof and boat damage from gusty winds, the area escaped the brunt of Frances.

    That's not to say the region was unscathed. For example, Punta Gorda resident Sandy MacGibbon, who lost his house to Hurricane Charley three weeks ago, saw his car flooded by knee-deep water from Frances.

    "Lost my car this time," he said.

    According to the National Weather Service, over a three-day period Frances dumped several inches of rain over Charlotte, Manatee and Sarasota counties. Rainfall was generally heavier in Manatee and lighter to the south.

    On Florida's east coast, residents began experiencing what Southwest Florida went through after Charley: long lines for the gas in few places as well as waits for scarce supplies for ice, water and other basics.

    The storm's long stay in Florida was beginning to wear on some, including shelter workers in Stuart, where some volunteers have been on duty since Thursday.

    "We need help now," Patricia Weiner, a public health nurse working at a St. Lucie County shelter, told Gov. Jeb Bush, who visited the center Monday.

    State and federal officials assured the shelter volunteers, many who've been working since last Thursday, that relief is on the way.

    "I know you're tired," Federal Emergency Management Agency director Mike Brown told workers at the St. Lucie County Emergency Operations Center in Fort Pierce. "I've seen so many people who are really hurting. Godspeed and keep it up."

    President Bush is expected to survey the damage Wednesday. He is asking Congress to approve $2 billion to help victims of hurricanes Charley and Frances.

    By late Monday afternoon, only five of the state's school districts had confirmed that they would open today, a situation Education Commission John Winn termed "very unusual." Two of those set to open, Charlotte and DeSoto counties, took the brunt of damage from Charley, and only resumed classes last week.

    "We'll have more school districts closed in the state of Florida than we have open," Winn said.

    Some state schools, including the University of Florida, Florida State University, Florida A&M and the University of Central Florida also closed because of Frances. And state government offices in Tallahassee will be closed today because of the storm.

    By Monday night The Associated Press reported seven storm-related deaths, including those of the 15-year-old grandson and a former son-in-law of FSU football coach Bobby Bowden, who were killed Sunday when their car hit a utility truck in North Florida.

    About 73,000 people remained in shelters in Florida.

    In Tampa, 105 residents at an assisted living facility that made it through Frances on Sunday had to be evacuated Monday when flood waters topped sandbags and approached electrical outlets in the building.

    Residents were evacuated in wheelchairs with flood waters lapping at their knees.

    Heather Downs moved into the home two weeks ago after her apartment was badly damaged by Charley. "I'm not scared," said Downs, standing outside in bare feet. "I've been through a lot."

    Personal watercraft zipped down Bayshore Boulevard in downtown Tampa and tens of thousands of residents were without power. But, Bean added, "At this point, I'm very pleased it's no worse."

    Frances, once a Category 4 hurricane, crossed north of Tampa and into the Gulf of Mexico on Sunday night after lumbering across the peninsula all day, weakening as it went. It hit the Florida coast again before noon Monday about 20 miles south of Tallahassee, with
    65 mph winds.

    The storm lost strength as it continued through Georgia and Alabama.

    But even as it left, Floridians faced recovery under the uncertain threat of Hurricane Ivan, the fifth hurricane of the 2004 season. Ivan had sustained winds of 105 mph and was moving into the Caribbean, posing a threat to the state by the weekend.

    State meteorologist Ben Nelson said it was too early to forecast a precise track for the storm, but added, "we will continue to closely monitor the progress of Hurricane Ivan."

    Besides electrical problems, more than 205,000 Floridians were without regular phone service and about 30 percent of all cell phone customers lost service in areas hit by Frances.

    State officials said 13,000 utility crews were already moving in to restore electric power. An estimated 3 million people remained without power Monday night.

    Gas lines in Palm Beach County stretched up to five miles and customers packed stores to get basic supplies.

    The state's major airports reopened and the number of people in shelters dropped from a high of 108,000 on Sunday.

    Federal aid began moving in, with FEMA preparing to hand out 1.5 million gallons of water and 1 million meals. The Red Cross and Salvation Army also began a massive aid effort. The Salvation Army moved in 70 mobile feeding units from four states to begin an unprecedented relief effort.

    Estimates of damage from Frances varied from $2 billion to $10 billion, though some insurance experts said it would likely fall below the $7.4 billion sustained from Charley. In part, that's because Frances inflicted more flood damage than Charley, and flooding is covered by a federal insurance program, rather than private companies.

    "If it's the same all the way across, we're looking at a couple of billion dollars rather than the big numbers we were seeing earlier," said Tom Gallagher, the state's chief financial officer.

    The damage included 1,000 panels ripped from the massive building NASA uses to assemble the space shuttle at the Kennedy Space Center. The damage was the worst from a hurricane striking the space center, officials said.

    Looting resulted in 25 arrests statewide.

    Although Frances is gone, flooding from the foot or more of rain that fell in some inland areas could cause lingering problems in Southwest Florida. The Peace River is already more than 1 foot above flood stage and isn't expected to crest until 4 feet over flood stage.

    Manatee County utility officials released water from the Lake Manatee dam, causing some flooding along Rye Road and other areas. Flooding is also expected along the Myakka.

    According to weather service radar totals, most of Manatee received 4 to 6 inches of rain from the storm, Sarasota County 2 to 4 inches and Charlotte 1 to 4 inches, though amounts varied widely.

    Material from Tallahassee Bureau reporter Lloyd Dunkelberger, staff writers Erin Bryce, Laura Green, Robert Patrick, Patrick Whittle, Christi Womack and Mark Zaloudek and The Associated Press was used in this report.

    Last modified: September 07. 2004 4:48AM







    This is Google's cache of ... YEAR 2000

    ... .. ... .. third ...
    THE HURRICANE / TYPHOON SEASON OF 2001/2002 ... .. ... 


    ... NOTE: On 8-24-92 thru 8-26-92, Hurricane Andrew came from the Atlantic ocean,a cross
    the top of Florida, through the Golf of Mexico, and came ashore just East ... - 

    HURRICANE KENNA. 2002. CATEGORY 5 HURRICANE. compiled by Dee Finney. Fri,
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    Florida's Hurricane History: September 1935
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    ... YEAR 2000 - HURRICANE SEASON National Hurricane Center: Tropical Prediction Center
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    ... EarthWatch ( many images, some 3-D ); Enviroment Canada - new site (
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    9-22-99. Hurricane Heads to Newfoundland. .c The Associated Press. ST. ... ~~~~~.
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    updated. 11-18-99. HURRICAN LENNY. November 13, 1999. Hurricane Lenny Batters St.
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    HURRICANE IRENE - 10-14-99
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    THE HURRICANE / TYPHOON SEASON OF 2001/2002. compiled by Dee Finney. A Prophecy? ... Strengthening
    Hurricane Erin bears down on Bermuda. September 8, 2001. ...

    New York Airport Disaster
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    ... ... NOTE: On 8-24-92 thru 8-26-92, Hurricane
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    ... The Butterfly Effect : A butterfly flaps his wings in MARIPOSA, California
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    9-20-03 - HURRICANE ISABEL - 2003 KILLS 35. Hurricane Isadore - 2002. ... 

    ... the truth, and especially not ...
    HURRICANE ISIDORE. ... Very heavy rains continue to ... -

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    THE WINTER OF 2002/2003
    SEASON OF 2001/2002. THE ARKANSAS ICE STORM - DECEMBER 2000. ... - 

    ... severe weather alerts. These include tornado, hurricane, flash flood,
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    ... NOTE: We had the worst hurricane season ever. See Hurricanes 1999. *****.
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    ... put total economic costs in the $3 billion to $6 billion range,6 which is comparable
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