Trinidad and Tobago Bulletin Board
Homepage | Weblog | Trinbago Pan | Trinicenter | TriniView | Photo Gallery | Forums

View Trinidad and

Trinidad and Tobago News Forum

Hurricane smothers Florida *LINK*

...wind, heavy rain; 4 million without power

STUART, Florida: Hurricane Frances weakened but still pounded Florida with high wind and heavy rain yesterday after it smashed across the state’s east coast, knocking out power to 4 million people, shredding roofs and uprooting trees. Some evacuees had to flee a second time when a school’s roof was partially blown off. Some 86,000 people remained in shelters as Gov Jeb Bush warned them against venturing out to see the damage until officials say it’s okay. “I didn’t think it would get this bad,” Carline Cadet said as she ventured through her West Palm Beach neighbourhood in rain gear. “The shutters were flapping in the wind so hard all night. It was crazy loud.”

Specifics on damage and injuries will be impossible to gather until after the storm passes, said Craig Fugate, the state’s director of emergency management. Before lumbering into Florida, Frances shattered windows, toppled power lines and flooded neighbourhoods 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. The storm made landfall in Florida with top sustained winds of 105 mph, but by early afternoon it was just one mile per hour above minimum hurricane strength at 75 mph. Forecasters warned that its path would take the centre over the warm water of the northeastern Gulf of Mexico north of Tampa by early today. They said it was possible Frances would regain intensity by tonight and hit the central Panhandle near Apalachicola.

“This is affecting the entire peninsula today, either tropical storm-force or hurricane-force winds. And then tomorrow it will be up in the panhandle, and then moving up into Georgia and Alabama after that,” National Hurricane Centre director Max Mayfield said yesterday on CBS’ Face the Nation. The eye of the storm blew ashore at Sewall’s Point, just east of Stuart, around 1 am, and by 2 pm it was centred about 55 miles east of Tampa, near Lake Wales in the middle of the Florida Peninsula. Frances was moving toward the west-northwest at about nine mph, and expected to remain over the state for most of the day, dumping eight to 12 inches of rain, with up to 20 inches in some areas. “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.

Frances was so big that virtually the entire state feared damage just weeks after Hurricane Charley tore through, killing 27 people and causing billions of dollars in damage. About 370 kilometres (230 miles) of coastline — from the Deerfield Beach area northward to Flagler Beach — remained under a hurricane warning yesterday morning. A similar-sized part of the Panhandle from the mouth of the Suwannee River to Destin on the Gulf of Mexico were also under the warning. The storm forced the largest evacuation in state history, with 2.8 million residents ordered inland and 86,000 of them in shelters. Miami-Dade County told about 320,000 people they could return home yesterday, but the storm had shut down much of Florida, including airports and amusement parks, during the usually busy Labour Day weekend. Airports in Miami and Fort Lauderdale reopened yesterday, but Orlando remained closed.

President George W Bush declared a major disaster in the counties affected by Frances, meaning residents would be eligible for federal aid. Four people were hospitalised in Boynton Beach after breathing carbon monoxide from a generator that was running in a house. Looting had become a problem. Police in the Orlando area said ten 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 chainsaw. At least ten other people were arrested for looting in Indian River County, Palm Beach County and Brevard County.

Trinidad and Tobago News

NOTE: In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 this material is distributed without profit or payment to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving this information for non-profit research and educational purposes only. For more information go to: If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Copyright ©