[Homestead] Abaco hurricane disaster enroute to Florida, hurricane fatigue

Tvoivozhd tvoivozd at infionline.net
Sat Sep 25 14:11:54 EDT 2004


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*Hurricane Jeanne Nears Bahamas, Threatens Florida*

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Hurricane Jeanne Nears Bahamas, Threatens Florida 

Sep 25, 6:22 AM (ET)

By Michael Christie

MIAMI (Reuters) - Deadly Hurricane Jeanne was closing in on the northern 
Bahamas on Saturday on its way to deliver yet another hit on Florida, 
already buffeted by three hurricanes in the past six weeks.

Hundreds of thousands of people on Florida's east coast were told to 
leave their homes again in anticipation of the storm, which may have 
killed up to 2,000 people when it caused devastating floods in Haiti 
last weekend.

Jeanne was strengthening on Saturday on its westward journey through the 
Atlantic Ocean, with top sustained winds reaching 105 mph from 100 mph 
on Friday night.

The National Hurricane Center in Miami said the storm was expected to 
grow stronger in the next 24 hours "and will likely become a major 
hurricane later today."

The storm was forecast to move over the Bahamas' Abaco Islands in the 
next few hours and approach the southeastern coast of Florida on 
Saturday night or early on Sunday, threatening an area pummeled by 
Hurricane Frances just three weeks ago.

If Jeanne slams into Florida, it will be the first time since 
record-keeping began in 1851 the state has been hit by four hurricanes 
in one season, the hurricane center said.

At 5 a.m. on Saturday, the center of Jeanne was near latitude 26.5 north 
and longitude 76.2 west, about 55 miles east of Great Abaco Island in 
the northwestern Bahamas and 240 miles east of the southeast coast of 
Florida. The storm was moving toward the west near 14 mph.

A hurricane warning, meaning residents should prepare for hurricane 
conditions in 24 hours, was in effect along the Florida east coast from 
Florida City northward to St. Augustine. A hurricane warning was also in 
effect for the northwestern Bahamas, including the Abacos, Grand Bahama 
Island and New Providence, which includes the capital, Nassau.

A hurricane watch remained in effect for the northeast Florida and 
Georgia coasts from north of St. Augustine to Altamaha Sound, Georgia, 
and a tropical storm warning was in effect on the west coast of Florida 
from East Cape Sable northward to Anclote Key.


Authorities in more than a dozen Florida counties, including the 
populous southeast urban area of Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach, 
urged residents to leave vulnerable coastal areas such as barrier 
islands and mobile homes that could be ripped apart.

"We cannot be complacent, I know there's been a lot of issues about 
hurricane fatigue," Miami-Dade County Mayor Alex Penelas said after 
acknowledging people were tired of having to put up shutters and spend 
their days listening to television and radio. "We must be prepared."

Much of Florida, the fourth most populous state, with a population of 17 
million, is still stunned after an extremely rare series of three 
hurricanes -- Charley, Frances and Ivan -- since Aug. 13 that caused 
tens of billions of dollars in losses and hammered sectors such as the 
citrus industry and tourism.

Some 280,000 people were told to leave their homes in Miami-Dade and 
Broward counties and hundreds of thousands more were urged to evacuate 
along the coast.

In the Bahamas, a 700-island chain with a population of 300,000, 
residents of Grand Bahama and Abaco islands, both still recovering from 
the ravages of Frances three weeks ago, packed into shelters as the 
storm loomed.

Silbert Mills, chairman of Abaco's disaster preparedness committee, said 
there was a feeling of "ubiquitous melancholy" on the island in the face 
of the approaching storm. (Additional reporting by Frances Kerry in 
Miami, Michael Peltier in Tallahassee and John Marquis in Nassau, Bahamas)

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