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2.5 Million Told to Flee Fla. Hurricane

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  Quote Jalisco Lancer Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: 2.5 Million Told to Flee Fla. Hurricane
    Posted: 02-Sep-2004 at 17:06

By TIM REYNOLDS, Associated Press Writer

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. - Residents and tourists in cars, trucks and campers clogged highways along the state's Atlantic coast on Thursday, fleeing inland as mighty Hurricane Frances threatened Florida with its second battering in three weeks.

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About 2.5 million residents were told to clear out the bigges evacuation request in state history ahead of what could be the most powerful storm to hit Florida in a decade. Other people in the 300-mile stretch covered by a hurricane warning rushed to fortify their homes with plywood and storm shutters, and buy water, gas and canned food.

Already a Category 4 storm with 145-mph winds and the potential to push ashore waves up to 15 feet high, Frances could make itself felt in the state by midmorning Friday.

At 2 p.m. EDT, the hurricane was centered 410 miles southeast of West Palm Beach and was moving at close to 13 mph.

This could be the first time since 1950 that two major storms have hit Florida so close together. On Aug. 13, Hurricane Charley splintered billions of dollars worth of homes, knocked out power to hundreds of thousands and killed 27 people when it tore across the state.

Charley's example and Frances' tremendous size prodded people like Linda Silvestri, 58, to get out of the way. Silvestri, who lives in Palm Bay on the central Florida coast, headed inland to Gainesville to be near a hospital because she just received a kidney transplant.

"I hope I have a house when I get back," she said.

The hurricane warning covered most of the state's eastern coast, from Florida City, near the state's southern tip, to Flagler Beach, north of Daytona Beach. Forecasters could not say with certainty where Frances would come ashore, just that it would strike late Friday or early Saturday.

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

Residents and tourists streamed inland in bumper-to-bumper traffic. Traffic backed up for miles on sections of Interstate 95, the main north-south highway along the state's east coast, and was also heavy on parts of I-4, which crosses the peninsula to connect Daytona Beach, Orlando and Tampa.

Geoff Connors of Fort Pierce sat in a line of about 50 cars slowly merging onto I-95 in Fort Pierce. He had enough cash and clothes to get through about five days, though he wasn't sure where he would end up.

"I figured it was smarter to get out of here now. It was a snap decision," Connors said.

Most people 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. All of Miami Beach, with its Art Deco hotels and flashy nightclubs and restaurants, was under an evacuation order.

The storm and the evacuations it forces are certain to spoil Labor Day outings and make a mess of holiday travel across the Southeast.

Erika and Brian Marwood, who moved from Colorado to Orlando two months ago and huddled in their bathroom with glow sticks and candles while Charley rushed overhead, made their way this time to a Holiday Inn in Tifton, Ga.

"We thought we were doing a good thing getting away from the snow, but there are no hurricanes in Colorado," Erika Marwood said.

Gov. Jeb Bush asked his brother President Bush (news - web sites) to declare Florida a federal disaster area and make storm victims eligible for recovery aid.

 

Federal officials promised they had enough people and supplies in the state to handle two disaster-relief operations at once.

"We were successful with Charley because we were massive, overwhelming and fast. For this event I want us to be massive, overwhelming and fast squared," said Michael Brown, director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (news - web sites).

People flocked to airports, hoping to get out before all flights were grounded. Some trudged through long lines at ticket counters only to find their flights had been canceled. Hotels and motels inland filled up, and gas stations ran dry.

Florida rescinded tolls on major roads and said lanes on some highways may be reversed to handle the evacuation traffic. State officials hoped to avoid a repeat of the mess during Hurricane Floyd in 1999, when 1.3 million people were told to evacuate the state's east coast and traffic backed up 30 miles or more.

The Kennedy Space Center (news - web sites) at Cape Canaveral was ordered completely evacuated for the first time because of the dual threats of high wind and storm surge.

Many businesses along the Atlantic coast began closing Wednesday. Stores that were open were stripped of bottled water and canned goods, and long lines formed outside home supply stores as people hoped for a chance to buy scarce plywood or generators. The arrival of a delivery truck was met with raucous applause in Palm Beach County.

Jenny Stimpson, 32, joined hundreds of others at a Wal-Mart in Stuart hunting for last-minute supplies but could find only ice. She said she bought 25 bags because "everywhere you go, you better grab something because it won't be there if you go back later."

Frances is as strong as Charley, and twice its size, with hurricane-force wind extending up to 80 miles from its center, said Stephen Baig, a forecaster at the National Hurricane Center (news - web sites) in Miami. Frances is also about twice the size of 1992's Hurricane Andrew, the Category 5 storm that destroyed much of southern Miami-Dade County.

The last time two major storms hit Florida so close together was 54 years ago, when Hurricane Easy hit the Tampa area and Hurricane King struck Miami about six weeks later. Neither storm was as powerful as Charley or Frances.

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  Quote John Doe Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02-Sep-2004 at 17:10

Can I have some of that rain pls?

 

 

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  Quote Bryan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02-Sep-2004 at 17:40
Oh you can have it most definitely. My grandparents and my uncle's family are coming up to my house soon to avoid it. Please, take it!
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  Quote Tobodai Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05-Sep-2004 at 14:29
I have a freind there now
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I have learned to hold popular opinion of no value."
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  Quote Jalisco Lancer Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09-Sep-2004 at 08:51

 

 

Fla. Urges New Evacuations As Ivan Nears


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KEY WEST, Fla. - All tourists and recreational vehicles were urged to evacuate the Florida Keys early Thursday because the powerful Hurricane Ivan could hit the island chain by Sunday. Ivan became a Category 5 hurricane overnight with winds up to 160 mph.

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Forecasters say it could continue to strengthen as it moves toward Jamaica, where it is expected to make landfall Friday or Saturday before heading on to Cuba and then possibly Florida. At 8 a.m. EDT, Ivan's center was about 455 miles southeast of Kingston, Jamaica, or about 1,000 miles southeast of Miami.

National Hurricane Center (news - web sites) forecasters predict that Ivan could hit the Florida Keys as a Category 4 hurricane, with winds of 131 to 155 mph, late Sunday or early Monday.

"I don't think that people will think twice when we tell them it's a Four heading right at us. I think they will be pretty responsive," said Monroe County emergency manager Irene Toner.

Monroe County emergency officials said the order was effective at 9 a.m. Thursday. It is the third visitor evacuation ordered in the Keys in a month, the previous two coming for Hurricanes Charley and Frances.

Ivan pummeled Grenada, Barbados and other islands with its devastating winds and rains, causing at least 15 deaths, before setting a direct course for Jamaica, Cuba and the hurricane-weary southern United States.

The most powerful hurricane to hit the Caribbean in 10 years damaged 90 percent of the homes in Grenada and destroyed a 17th century stone prison that left criminals on the loose as looting erupted, officials said Wednesday.

The storm's howling winds and drenching rains also flooded parts of Venezuela's north coast. Helicopter charter companies were busy Wednesday ferrying evacuated workers back to offshore oil drilling platforms there.

"After Jamaica, it's probably going to hit somewhere in the U.S., unfortunately," said meteorologist Jennifer Pralgo of the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami. "We're hoping it's not Florida again, but it's taking a fairly similar track to Charley at the moment."

Another meteorologist at the Miami center, Hugh Cobb, added this grim warning: "Whoever gets this, it's going to be bad."

Cobb said that if Ivan hit Jamaica, it could be more destructive than Hurricane Gilbert, which was only Category 3 when it devastated the island in 1988.

Jamaica posted a hurricane watch Wednesday afternoon and ordered all schools closed and fishermen to pull their skiffs ashore and head for dry land. Haiti's southwest peninsula was on hurricane watch as well.

Ivan became the fourth major hurricane of a busy Atlantic season Sunday.

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  Quote Cornellia Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09-Sep-2004 at 09:58

According to the most recent projections, it appears that the most probable path for Ivan is right up the center of Florida.

A Class 5 hurricane is extremely dangerous and devastating.............but would be more so for Florida which is still reeling from Charley and Frances.

Felix qui potuit rerum cognoscere causas
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  Quote Tobodai Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09-Sep-2004 at 13:47
god and the rain up here makes it so humid and sweltering in my non-ventilated dorm....
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  Quote Jalisco Lancer Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14-Sep-2004 at 13:08

 

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Hurricane Ivan Rolls Towards Cuba

1 hour, 50 minutes ago

By JAY EHRHART, Associated Press Writer

GEORGE TOWN, Cayman Islands - A strengthened Hurricane Ivan headed toward the tip of western Cuba with 160 mph winds Monday after pummeling the Cayman Islands with flooding that swamped homes and fierce winds that ripped off roofs.

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The slow-moving, extremely dangerous Category 5 storm, one of the strongest on record to hit the region, killed at least 68 people across the Caribbean before reaching the Caymans, and threatens millions more in its projected path.

Parts of low-lying Grand Cayman, the largest island in the territory of 45,000 people, were swamped under up to 8 feet of water Monday and residents stood on rooftops of flooded homes. A car floated by the second story of one building, and a resident called Radio Cayman to report seeing two bodies floating off the beach. Police said they could not confirm the report.

Ivan intensified overnight, with maximum sustained winds at 160 mph and gusts up to 195 mph, and headed for western Cuba, threatening floods in Pinar del Rio province, the center of tobacco growing and the biggest source for the island's famed cigar industry. About 1.3 million Cubans were evacuated from their homes, most taking refuge in the sturdier houses of relatives, co-workers or neighbors.

Ivan at Category 5, the highest level on the Saffir-Simpson scale and capable of catastrophic damage was projected to pass near or over Cuba's western end by Monday afternoon or evening on a path toward the U.S. gulf coast.

Although Cubans were relieved by reports that the hurricane would not make a direct hit, Havana's head meteorologist, Jose Rubiera, said Ivan was still threatening western parts of the island with strong winds and torrential rains. "No one should think that it is gone, that we are safe that is not true," he said.

Cuba's Isla de Juventud, or Isle of Youth, southwest of the main island, began experiencing 50 mph winds and intermittent rain early Monday, the official Prensa Latina news service said.

The National Hurricane Center (news - web sites) in Miami said the center might miss the tip of Cuba and could move near the northeastern Yucatan Peninsula in the next 24 hours.

At 11 a.m. EDT Monday, Ivan's eye was about 85 miles south-southeast of the western tip of Cuba. Hurricane-force winds extended 105 miles and tropical storm-force winds another 205 miles. Ivan was moving northwest near 8 mph.

Ivan was expected to move into the Gulf of Mexico on Tuesday, nearing parts of Florida's west coast still recovering from Hurricane Charley and threatening to make landfall in the Florida panhandle, Mississippi or Louisiana. Mexico's northeastern Yucatan peninsula also was on alert.

"Right now, we're looking anywhere from the Florida panhandle to Louisiana," Jennifer Pralgo, a meteorologist at the Hurricane Center, said. "We do feel that the southern portion of Florida will be in the clear on this."

Ivan killed at least 15 people in Jamaica, 39 in Grenada, five in Venezuela, one in Tobago, one in Barbados and four children in the Dominican Republic. On Monday, officials in Haiti said the storm killed three people there Saturday.

Oil platforms in the eastern and central Gulf of Mexico were being evacuated, and expectations of a disruption in gulf production pushed up oil prices more than $1 a barrel.

In Jamaica, shelters jammed with more than 11,000 people were running short of food Monday and officials said they planned to fly in supplies to isolated districts by helicopter. Dozens of roads were blocked by debris from the storm Saturday.

Ivan's eye skirted Jamaica's south coast Sunday, then passed just south of Grand Cayman, said Rafael Mojica, a Hurricane Center meteorologist.

Though Ivan's center didn't directly make landfall in the Caymans' three-island chain, the storm lashed the wealthy British territory all day Sunday with 150 mph winds, and the rains kept coming through the night.

"It's as bad as it can possibly get," Justin Uzzell, 35, said by telephone Sunday from his fifth-floor refuge in an office building on Grand Cayman. "It's a horizontal blizzard. The air is just foam."

 

An estimated one-quarter to one-half of the 15,000 homes on the island suffered some damage said Donnie Ebanks, deputy chairman of its National Hurricane Committee.

"We know there is damage and it is severe," said Wes Emanuel of the Cayman Islands' Government Information Service.

Patchy cell phone service was restored as dawn broke in the Caymans, a popular scuba diving destination and banking center.

The airport runway was flooded and windows shattered in the control tower, Ebanks said. The winds uprooted trees as tall as three stories.

Mexico issued a hurricane watch and tropical storm warning for the northeastern Yucatan, and hundreds abandoned fishing settlements on the nearby island of Holbox. The resort city of Cancun opened shelters and closed beaches and hotel owners boarded over windows. The tourist island of Cozumel shut down its airport and halted the arrival of cruise ships.

While projections had the storm bypassing the Florida Keys, officials kept an evacuation order in place for the island chain's 79,000 residents.

The last Category 5 storm to make landfall in the Caribbean was Hurricane David, which killed more than 1,000 people and devastated the Dominican Republic in 1979, Mojica said.

Only three Category 5 storms are known to have hit the United States. The last was Hurricane Andrew, which hit South Florida in 1992, killing 43 people and causing more than $30 billion in damage.

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  Quote Jalisco Lancer Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14-Sep-2004 at 23:17

 

Ivan Spurs Evacuations Along Gulf Coast


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By BILL KACZOR, Associated Press Writer

PENSACOLA, Fla. - Rather than roll the dice on where 160-mph Hurricane Ivan might strike, Gulf Coast residents from Florida's Panhandle all the way to the bayous of Louisiana spent Monday boarding up their houses, tying up their boats and making plans to evacuate.

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"I'm getting the hell out of here. This thing's too big," charter boat captain Jerry Weber said as he steered his 41-foot vessel up the Apalachicola River out of harm's way. "It doesn't matter where it comes ashore, not at this size."

The hard-to-predict Category 5 storm, one of the most powerful hurricanes ever to hit the Caribbean, killed at least 68 people in a devastating run through Barbados, Grenada, Jamaica and the Cayman Islands. The storm began hitting Cuba on Monday.

A hurricane watch was issued late Monday for 420 miles of the northern Gulf of Mexico from Morgan City, La., to St. Marks in the Florida Panhandle. The watch, which includes the greater New Orleans area, means hurricane conditions are possible within 36 hours.

Emergency officials in several Panhandle counties began issuing evacuation orders Monday for all those living in mobile homes, barrier islands and storm surge areas. In Escambia County, which includes Pensacola, that order affects 130,000 homes. Earlier, military bases in the region flew out some 275 aircraft, and oil and natural gas companies began evacuating hundreds of workers from offshore rigs in the eastern Gulf of Mexico.

In New Orleans, a city largely below sea level and extremely vulnerable to hurricanes, Mayor Ray Nagin urged anyone who could leave to get out as soon as possible. The city and its environs are home to about 1 million people.

"It's my feeling that this storm will pass very close to New Orleans," Nagin said Monday night.

At 11 p.m. EDT, Ivan was centered about 40 miles west-northwest of the western tip of Cuba, and was headed northwest at nearly 9 mph. Hurricane-force winds extended 100 miles from the eye.

Although some forecasters predicted some weakening over the cooler waters of the northeastern Gulf of Mexico, National Hurricane Center (news - web sites) director Max Mayfield said Ivan would still be "very formidable."

"It's going to hit somebody," he warned. "This is a very, very dangerous hurricane."

On Pensacola Beach, Mark Sigler and his son stacked sandbags across the driveway of their steel-reinforced dome house that is supposedly designed to withstand hurricane-force winds. They were not sticking around to find out.

"It's stupid to stay unless you like camping in a disaster area," he said. "There's no reason to be out here."

Florida Gov. Jeb Bush urged residents to heed the warnings.

"This is not the time to be defiant and let people know you are a macho man," he said. "This is a Category 5 storm. Trust me, this is a powerful force of nature you shouldn't be messing with."

At times along its wobbly path, forecasters had predicted Ivan could make direct hits on either the Florida Keys or populous South Florida, only to see it veer west and sidestep both areas.

Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama residents had thought they were in the clear, until Ivan shifted over the weekend and put them in the possible path.

"I'm not going to stay and wait and see if it's scary," Molly Dupont said in Orange Beach, Ala., as she got ready to head for a sister's home in Ohio.

 

Along Mississippi's 75-mile-long coastline, which has been remade in recent years by splashy gambling houses, managers of some floating casinos allowed employees time off to get their houses secured. But the gambling never stopped.

In the New Orleans area, Lynn Harrington filled her grocery cart with plenty of water, bleach, duct tape, canned tuna and beans.

"My boyfriend says that if you have cigarettes, toilet paper and lots of booze, you can trade for everything you need," she said.

Theresa Vegas, manager of the Sand Dollar Motel on the barrier island town of Grand Isle, La., said her husband and other shrimpers started bringing their boats in.

In Florida, Ivan's final run has only added to the anxiety in a state that has already endured Hurricanes Charley and Frances in the past month alone. The last time Florida was hit by three hurricanes in a single season was 1964.

Cedar Key, an island in an area where the Florida peninsula turns into the Panhandle, has been either in the path or in the evacuation zone for the two previous storms and has not been ruled out as a target for Ivan.

At Fishbonz Chowder House, one of only two restaurants open in Cedar Key, paramedic Michel DuMont said she was not going to take her plywood down from her doors and windows until after Ivan ran its course.

"How can you overreact to a Category 5?" DuMont said. "Frances was ugly but Ivan is mean."

At the southern end of the state, people who had fled the Keys were told the 120-mile island chain had dodged the storm's bullet and the 79,000 residents could go back home. They began trickling back to their shuttered homes and businesses.

"By the time this hurricane season is over everyone is going to be a nervous wreck," said Rick Coble, a clerk at Bargain Books in Key West.

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  Quote Bryan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14-Sep-2004 at 23:28

Thanks for the article, Jalisco.

"By the time this hurricane season is over everyone is going to be a nervous wreck," said Rick Coble, a clerk at Bargain Books in Key West.

That's an understatement.

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  Quote Jalisco Lancer Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15-Sep-2004 at 12:04

 

Fla., La. Residents Prepare to Flee Ivan


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By DAVID ROYSE, Associated Press Writer

PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. - Frightened residents of the Gulf Coast from Florida's Panhandle to Louisiana's bayous boarded up windows, packed and hit the road Tuesday as powerful Hurricane Ivan charged in their direction. More than 1 million people were urged to evacuate the vulnerable New Orleans area.

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A hurricane watch was posted for a 420-mile-long swath from St. Marks in the Florida Panhandle, just south of Tallahassee, to New Orleans and Morgan City, La.

Authorities ordered or strongly urged residents and tourists to evacuate coastal areas of the Florida Panhandle, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana. Schools were closed in New Orleans and parts of Florida, Mississippi and Alabama, and some areas started opening shelters. Panama City Beach was deserted at dawn Tuesday.

"This is a serious storm that requires serious action to get people out of harm's way," Alabama Gov. Bob Riley said.

Ivan, a killer blamed for at least 68 deaths in the Caribbean, was a Category 4 hurricane at late morning with top sustained wind at 140 mph, down from 160 mph Category 5 strength earlier.

"That's a monster they've got out there. I'm not taking any chances," Irvin Bruce said as he and his wife, Lillian, packed to leave the Copa Casino in Gulfport, Miss., to return to their home west of New Orleans. If necessary, he said, they would keep going west.

Although they're on the western side of the watch area, New Orleans and its suburb of Jefferson Parish urged their population of around 1 million to head for higher ground, and suburban St. Charles Parish ordered its 49,000 residents to leave.

New Orleans is flanked by the Mississippi River and broad Lake Pontchartrain, and needs a system of canals and huge pumps to keep it dry because parts of it are as much as 10 feet below sea level. The city hasn't taken a major direct hit from a hurricane since Betsy in 1965, which flooded some neighborhoods up to 7 feet deep. Many highways leading out of the metro area are prone to flooding, severely limiting escape routes.

The spot where the center of the storm would make landfall was anyone's guess, but New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin noted that hurricane-strength wind at least 75 mph was possible as far as 100 miles out from Ivan's center. He declared a state of emergency for the city.

"We don't know if were going to get a punch in the mouth or a kick in the knee. But we're going to get hit," Jefferson Parish President Aaron Broussard said at a news conference.

Forecasters warned that Ivan still could strengthen before hitting shore. They also said it could slow down or stall over the Appalachians this weekend, raising the risk of serious flooding.

At 11 a.m. Tuesday, Ivan was centered about 435 miles south-southeast of the mouth of the Mississippi River and about 470 miles south of Panama City Beach. It was moving north-northwest at 8 mph.

Oil and gas rigs in the Gulf of Mexico had been evacuated and hundreds of people abandoned fishing settlements on Mexico's Yucatan peninsula, and the storm's threat also affected oil producers on shore.

"We started to shut down refineries. We now know that there is going to be a crude oil production shutdown and a product output shutdown," Jan Stuart, head of energy research at FIMAT USA, a brokerage unit of Societe Generale, told The Associated Press.

The Coast Guard had not restricted traffic on the lower Mississippi River below New Orleans but shipping companies voluntarily stopped operations late Monday and early Tuesday and ordered their vessels tied down.

"The vessel traffic is basically nonexistent," Petty Officer Nyx Cangemi said Tuesday.

Residents south of Interstate 10 in Mississippi's coastal counties were ordered to evacuate, and the state's Gaming Commission ordered the 12 Gulf Coast casinos to close Tuesday.

 

Panhandle residents needed no more reminders of the perils of powerful hurricanes. Hurricanes Charley and Frances caused billions in damage and were blamed for more than 50 deaths statewide; Ivan could make landfall as the triumvirate's most powerful.

President Bush (news - web sites) asked Congress for an additional $3.1 billion Tuesday to help Florida and other states recover from their recent batterings. That comes on top of $2 billion approved last week but does not extend to Ivan.

The Mississippi National Guard had been placed on active duty.

All over low-lying southern Louisiana, residents made plans to leave.

Even storm-hardened residents of the Louisiana barrier island town of Grand Isle seemed more worried than usual, said Wanda Kirby, owner of the Sandpiper Motel.

"People who have never left before are packing up and leaving town. Everyone has their car loaded," said Kirby, who said her family was leaving immediately, a routine precaution for them.

Hotels across western and northern parts of Louisiana were filling up with people seeking higher ground. "It is a bittersweet situation when your best business is during a disaster," Mike Radiky, general manager of the Lafayette Holiday Inn Central Holidome.

Most schools and colleges along the Panhandle closed. Military installations were sending at least 275 aircraft well away from Ivan's possible path.

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  Quote Tobodai Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15-Sep-2004 at 12:52
I love how the uS media barely acknowledges that there are people in other countries dying and being harmed by earthquakes, but when one eldercare Floridian dies its like a national dya of mourning.
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  Quote Bryan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15-Sep-2004 at 14:01
Oh, lay off. There are segments of the US media that handle that, but think of it this way: most Americans aren't familiar with other countries, and thus the coverage isn't as likely to show something like earthquakes over in Europe as it is a hurricane in Florida where the possibility is greater that they know someone there. If a natural disaster is not considered "major news", then the media probably won't run something on it, except maybe a blurb.
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  Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15-Sep-2004 at 14:22
Originally posted by Bryan

most Americans aren't familiar with other countries, 

I think most Americans aren't familiar with other countries because there is little media coverage about it.
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  Quote Jalisco Lancer Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15-Sep-2004 at 17:56

 

Direct Hit by Ivan Could Sink New Orleans


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By BRETT MARTEL, Associated Press Writer

NEW ORLEANS - The worst-case scenario for New Orleans a direct strike by a full-strength Hurricane Ivan could submerge much of this historic city treetop-deep in a stew of sewage, industrial chemicals and fire ants, and the inundation could last for weeks, experts say.

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If the storm were strong enough, Ivan could drive water over the tops of the levees that protect the city from the Mississippi River and vast Lake Pontchartrain. And with the city sitting in a saucer-shaped depression that dips as much as 9 feet below sea level, there would be nowhere for all that water to drain.

Even in the best of times, New Orleans depends on a network of canals and huge pumps to keep water from accumulating inside the basin.

"Those folks who remain, should the city flood, would be exposed to all kinds of nightmares from buildings falling apart to floating in the water having nowhere to go," Ivor van Heerden, director of Louisiana State University's Hurricane Public Health Center, said Tuesday.

LSU's hurricane experts have spent years developing computer models and taking surveys to predict what might happen.

The surveys predict that about 300,000 of the 1.6 million people living in the metropolitan area would risk staying.

The computer models show a hurricane with a wind speed of around 120 mph or more hitting just west of New Orleans so its counterclockwise rotation could hurl the strongest surf and wind directly into the city would push a storm surge from the Gulf of Mexico and Lake Pontchartrain over the city's levees. Ivan had sustained wind of 140 mph Tuesday.

New Orleans would be under about 20 feet of water, higher than the roofs of many of the city's homes.

Besides collecting standard household and business garbage and chemicals, the flood would flow through chemical plants in the area, "so there's the potential of pretty severe contamination," van Heerden said.

Severe flooding in area bayous also forces out wildlife, including poisonous snakes and stinging fire ants, which sometimes gather in floating balls carried by the current.

A rescue of people who stayed behind would be among the world's biggest since 1940, when Allied forces and civilian volunteers during World War II rescued mostly British soldiers from Dunkirk, France, and carried them across the English Channel, van Heerden predicted.

Much of the city would be under water for weeks. And even after the river and Lake Pontchartrain receded, the levees could trap water above sea level, meaning the Army Corps of Engineers would have to cut the levees to let the water out.

"The real big problem is the water from sea level on down because it will have to be pumped and restoring the pumps and getting them back into action could take a considerable amount of time," said John Hall, the Corps' spokesman in New Orleans.

Hall spoke from his home 6 feet below sea level as he prepared to flee the city himself. The Corps' local staff was being relocated 166 miles north to Vicksburg, Miss.

New Orleans was on the far western edge of the Gulf Coast region threatened by Ivan, and forecasters said Tuesday that the hurricane appeared to moving toward a track farther east, along the Mississippi coast.

If the eye came ashore east of the city, van Heerden said, New Orleans would be on the low side of the storm surge and would not likely have catastrophic flooding.

The worst storm in recent decades to hit New Orleans was Hurricane Betsy in 1965, which submerged parts of the city in water 7-feet deep and was blamed for 74 deaths in Louisiana, Mississippi and Florida. That storm was a Category 3, weaker than Ivan is expected to be.

 

Even if New Orleans escapes this time, van Heerden said, it will remain vulnerable until the federal and state governments act to restore the coastal wetlands that should act as a buffer against storms coming in from the Gulf.

Louisiana has lost about a half million acres of coast to erosion since 1930 because the Mississippi River is so corralled by levees that it can dump sediment only at its mouth, and that allows waves from the Gulf to chop away at the rest of the coastline.

"My fear is, if this storm passes (without a major disaster), everybody forgets about it until next year, when it could be even worse because we'll have even less wetlands," van Heerden said.

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  Quote Tobodai Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15-Sep-2004 at 19:46

Originally posted by MixcoatlToltecahtecuhtli

Originally posted by Bryan

most Americans aren't familiar with other countries, 

I think most Americans aren't familiar with other countries because there is little media coverage about it.

 

That is very, very true, and things are never shown in any context whatsoever whether historical or sociological.

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  Quote Jalisco Lancer Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18-Sep-2004 at 09:04

 

Ivan Batters Fla., Ala., Leaves 27 Dead


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By PAULINE ARRILLAGA, AP National Writer

PENSACOLA, Fla. - Hurricane Ivan spun off deadly tornadoes, swamped streets in storm-weary Florida and battered and bruised the Alabama coast, but largely spared Mississippi, Louisiana and especially vulnerable New Orleans.

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Hurricane Ivan was the deadliest hurricane to hit the United States since Floyd in 1999, but it could have been worse. In all, the hurricane was blamed for 70 deaths in the Caribbean and at least 27 in the United States, more than half of them in Florida.

More bad news could await: The storm's remnants battered the southern Appalachians on Friday. And Tropical Storm Jeanne looms in the Atlantic on a track toward the southeastern United States and, possibly, Florida.

"People are just sick of it," groaned Dennis Mace, who as a handyman is one of the few Floridians benefiting after the third hurricane in five weeks assaulted the Sunshine State. Hunting for work in the wake of Ivan, Mace spotted a sign that summed up the feelings of many:

It read: "1 Charley, 2 Frances, 3 Ivan, 4 Sale."

Ivan weakened after coming ashore, but it continued to spin off tornadoes and cause flooding across the South, already soggy after Hurricanes Charley and Frances. Up to 9 inches of rain fell on parts of Georgia.

In North Carolina, Ivan's heavy rain and wind forced evacuations along rivers, knocked out power to thousands of residents and sent trees crashing into homes across the western part of the state. At least three people died there. The hurricane's remnants also prompted flood warnings in 34 eastern and middle Tennessee counties, where forecasters predicted up to 7 inches of rain.

Ivan came ashore with 130 mph winds near Gulf Shores Beach, Ala., around 2 a.m. CDT Thursday, but it was the Panhandle squarely in the northeast quadrant of the storm, where the winds are most violent that took the brunt. More than 2 million residents along a 300-mile stretch of the Gulf Coast from New Orleans to Panama City, Fla., cleared out as Ivan closed in.

In Escambia County, home to Pensacola and some 300,000 residents, at least seven people died in the storm, including one who suffered a heart attack at a shelter.

"Some of the houses, everything inside was gone out of one side like a heavy wave of water hit it and spit the stuff inside of the house out," Sheriff Ron McNesby said.

Off Gulf Shores Highway, in a neighborhood nestled along Pensacola's Grand Lagoon, at least a half dozen homes and businesses were demolished some swept clear off their foundations.

The hiss and stench of leaking gas filled the air as stricken residents waded through calf-high water collecting what belongings they could.

Doug Pacitti, a deck hand on a charter fishing boat, lived with his friend and 4-year-old son across the street from the bay. On Thursday, he stepped over crumbled bricks, broken dishes and plywood to survey what was left of the house he rented.

Where the kitchen should have been, silverware and skillets sat under an open sky. The refrigerator was propelled into the back yard, where it came to rest under a fallen pine tree.

"Everything's gone everything," said Pacitti, 31. "Three thousand dollars worth of fishing poles. The antique dishes my grandmother gave me gone. Even my kid's toys."

A storm surge of 10 to 16 feet spawned monster waves. A portion of a bridge on Interstate 10, the major east-west highway through the Panhandle, was washed away.

Search and rescue missions in Florida continued, but no new storm victims were found early Friday, Santa Rosa County spokesman Don Chinery said. A National Guard convoy left Tallahassee early Friday to deliver food, ice, water and other supplies to hard-hit areas, and counties hoped to get relief centers set up later in the day.

 

About 437,000 homes and businesses in eight Panhandle counties nearly all of Gulf Power Co.'s customers were without power. Federal Emergency Management Agency (news - web sites) director Mike Brown said Friday that an additional 500,000 people in Alabama were also in the dark, and warned that some of those may have to live without electricity for up to a week.

Brown said search and rescue workers may have to use aircraft to get to hard-hit areas that are cut off by washed-out roads.

"Virtually the entire state of Florida is a disaster area," Brown told CBS' "Early Show." "These people are just worn out from these storms."

Insurance experts put Ivan's damage at anywhere from $3 billion to $10 billion. Hurricanes Charley and Frances had combined estimated insured damages between about $11 billion and $13 billion after striking Florida in the past month.

The troika of hurricanes Charley, Frances and Ivan have the potential to give Florida's $50 billion tourist industry a "black eye" in the long term, said Abraham Pizam, dean of the University of Central Florida Rosen College of Hospitality Management.

If next year's hurricane season is anywhere near as busy, "then people will definitely not come here during the summer time, and that means great losses," Pizam said. "Florida might go back to where it was 35 to 40 years ago, which was as a winter destination."

In the oceanfront community of Gulf Shores, the storm gutted shops, buckled concrete parking lots and buried beach-front roads deep in sand. A new pass was cut through Pleasure Island, Alabama's prime coastal vacation spot, and scores of homes suffered major damage.

"It was hell," said Tonja Elberfeld, who rode out the storm at a motel 10 miles from the beach in Gulf Shores, Ala. "It beat and it banged. ... We were crying and singing `Jesus Loves Me' just to stop the noise. I thought we were gone."

The historic port city of Mobile, Ala., was abuzz with chainsaws Thursday. Tree limbs and power lines caused traffic to move at a crawl in places, but there was an almost Mardi Gras glee among some that Ivan was not as destructive as billed.

President Bush (news - web sites) planned to visit Alabama and Florida to survey the damage on Sunday, the White House said.

In Louisiana, Gov. Kathleen Blanco was thankful for Ivan's narrow miss.

"Louisiana truly is blessed," Blanco said, asking evacuees to "remember to be thankful that most people are returning to safe, sound, whole homes."

If Louisiana was blessed, Florida remained cursed.

"It's sad," said a weary Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. "I don't know quite why we've had this run of storms. You just have to accept that."

By the hurricane center's tally, counting deaths directly caused by a storm as it hits, Ivan was the deadliest hurricane to hit the U.S. mainland since Hurricane Floyd killed 56 people in 1999. Ivan's unofficial death toll included 14 in Florida, two in Mississippi, three in Georgia, one in Alabama and three in North Carolina. In Louisiana, four evacuees died after being taken from their storm-threatened homes to safer parts of the state.

For Floridians weary of all the worry, aggravation and heartache of the past month, there was one final number to consider Friday: There are 73 days left in the hurricane season.

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  Quote Jalisco Lancer Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18-Sep-2004 at 13:02

 

Tropical Storm Karl Strengthening


Fri Sep 17, 5:20 AM ET
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MIAMI - Tropical Storm Karl strengthened Friday in the far eastern Atlantic, but posed no immediate threat to land.

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The 11th named storm of the 2004 Atlantic hurricane season had top sustained winds near 65 mph at 5 a.m. EDT, up from 40 mph late Thursday, according to the National Hurricane Center (news - web sites) in Miami. Karl could intensify even more and become the seventh hurricane of the season, forecasters said.

Tropical storms have sustained winds of 39 to 73 mph. Hurricanes have winds 74 mph or greater.

Karl spun out of a tropical depression that had gathered over humid seas west of the Cape Verde Islands, which are off northwestern Africa. At 5 a.m., the center of Karl was located about 820 miles west-southwest of the Cape Verdes. It was moving west near 12 mph and was expected to eventually turn north, away from land.

Karl comes on the heels of strong Tropical Storm Jeanne, which moved over eastern Hispaniola on Thursday and was on a course toward the Turks and Caicos Islands and the southeastern Bahamas, projected to regain hurricane strength.

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  Quote Jalisco Lancer Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19-Sep-2004 at 01:27

 

Ivan Remains Hit Eastern U.S., Flood Homes


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By PAUL NOWELL, Associated Press Writer

CASHIERS, N.C. - The violent remains of Hurricane Ivan pounded a large swath of the eastern United States on Friday, drenching an area from Georgia to Ohio, washing out dozens of homes, sweeping cars down roadways and trapping more than 100 students at an elementary school.

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The storm, which has killed 70 people in the Caribbean and at least 39 in the United States, retained its destructive power over land even as its wind speed dropped.

More than 8 inches of rain in some areas triggered deadly floods, hundreds of thousands of people were without power, and tornadoes were reported as far north as Maryland. Even after the storm was no longer a hurricane, it was responsible for the deaths of eight people in North Carolina, four in Georgia and one in Tennessee.

In the southwestern corner of North Carolina, four people were killed and as many as 30 homes destroyed in Cullasaja, a tiny mountain valley town in the Nantahala National Forest. It was not immediately clear how they died.

"These mountains are very unforgiving when it comes to floods," said Ronnie Setzer, the owner of a convenience store less than a mile from the neighborhood that was inundated. "Some of the old-timers who came in this morning told me this is the worst flooding they've seen in 40 years."

In Georgia, where up to 9 inches of rain fell, Jon and Dianne Birts fled their home along the Coosawattee River with their cat and drove to higher ground, but had to abandon their truck when floodwaters swirled around them.

"When we stepped out, we realized the truck must have been floating because the water was over our heads, so we started swimming as hard as we could," said Jon Birts, a retired banker.

With only the headlamps of their sinking pickup truck to guide them, the couple grabbed hold of a floating propane tank until a passing driver helped them to safety. Dianne Birts had to let go of the cat's cage to survive.

"All of these material things I'm thinking about floating down the river don't mean a hill of beans," she said. "I do miss my kitty, though."

In the eastern Tennessee town of Spring City, rushing water from a creek cascaded through the business district, breaking out storefront windows, carrying away merchandise and leaving behind a muck of mud and debris.

"It's a complete disaster area," Officer B.J. Neal said. "We've had homes completely destroyed. We've had homes washed in the lakes."

Heavy rain stranded about 150 students and employees at a southeastern Ohio elementary school, although emergency officials said the building was on high ground and out of danger.

Amesville Elementary School cooks were making pizza, nachos and cookies for the preschoolers through fifth-graders, whom teachers kept occupied with bingo and a dance.

"We're probably here for the duration of the night," said the school librarian, Patti McKibben. "The Red Cross is bringing in blankets by boat."

About 100 children in West Virginia's northern panhandle also were forced to spend the night at their schools because of flooding.

More than 3,000 people in that state were evacuated as mudslides and high water blocked roads and toppled trees. Some people were rescued by crews in helicopters and boats.

Dozens of tornadoes were sighted along the storm's path, in Florida, Georgia, the Carolinas, Virginia, West Virginia and Maryland. Several damaged homes and other buildings.

 

Several tornadoes struck West Virginia's eastern panhandle, including one that collapsed structures and tossed tractor-trailers on their sides on Interstate 81. Emergency officials did not immediately know whether anyone had been injured.

Heavy rain swelled creeks and spilled into roads in the Pittsburgh area, where there were reports of groups of people trapped on bridges. Carnegie's police chief became trapped on one bridge while attempting a rescue, said Dan Onorato, Allegheny County chief executive.

Allegheny County emergency officials ordered the evacuation of the western part of Etna, a borough of about 4,000 residents northeast of Pittsburgh along the Allegheny River.

As much as 9 inches of rain fell in western North Carolina. The state Department of Transportation said nearly 200 roads were impassable in western counties, including Interstate 40 west of Asheville, which was closed after rain washed out the eastbound lanes.

In Sapphire, N.C., about 40 miles southwest, Jim Lorenz lost power at his country store but moved his gas grill onto the front porch and gave away coffee and hot dogs.

"A lot of people who got hit real hard are just coming by, and I figured I could offer them some food and their morning coffee," he said.

Virginia Gov. Mark R. Warner declared a state of emergency as heavy bands of heavy rain lashed his state's mountainous southwestern tip. More than a dozen tornadoes touched down, including one in Henry County that tore the roof off a factory, flipped two tractor-trailer rigs off a highway, damaged homes and ripped up or snapped thousands of trees.

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  Quote Evildoer Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19-Sep-2004 at 18:38
Take cover.
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