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Florida in path of Hurricane JEANNE


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Florida in path of Hurricane Jeanne

Storm would be fourth to hit Sunshine State this season


Friday, September 24, 2004 Posted: 8:51 PM EDT (0051 GMT)


Tom Mignogna boards up windows Friday in Satellite Beach as Hurricane Jeanne approaches Florida.



As of 8 p.m. Friday ET:

# Position of center: 170 miles east of Great Abaco, Bahamas, and 355 miles east of Florida coast

# Latitude: 26.5 north

# Longitude: 74.3 west

# Top sustained winds: 100 mph

Source: National Hurricane Center



MIAMI, Florida (CNN) -- Florida Gov. Jeb Bush declared a state of emergency Friday as the state prepared for the arrival of Jeanne, potentially the fourth hurricane to strike the Sunshine State this year.


Four counties called for voluntary evacuations Friday, and mandatory evacuations of low-lying areas, barrier islands and mobile homes will go into effect in at least eight counties Saturday morning.


Jeanne, which meandered for several days after inundating the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and Haiti with rain as a tropical storm last week, is now on track to hit the Florida coast by Sunday, weather forecasters said.


Projections show the Category 2 storm cutting through the northern Bahamas on Saturday and then heading toward Florida, possibly hitting the coast Sunday morning.


As of 8 p.m. Friday ET, the center of the hurricane was 170 miles (275 kilometers) east of Great Abaco Island in the Bahamas, where a hurricane warning is in effect, the National Hurricane Center said. That position put the eye of the storm 355 miles (675 kilometers) east of the Florida coast. The storm was moving west near 12 mph (19 kph), the center said.


Jeanne's top sustained winds held at 100 mph (160 kph), and hurricane-force winds extended outward up to 45 miles (75 kilometers) from the center. Winds of tropical storm force extended outward up to 150 miles (240 kilometers). The center said wind speed may increase during the next 24 hours.


A hurricane warning was issued for the Florida coast from Florida City, south of Miami, to St. Augustine. A hurricane watch was issued for north of St. Augustine to Altamaha Sound, Georgia.


Jeanne has left significant destruction in its wake.


More than 1,100 Haitians were killed by the storm and the flooding that resulted.


About 1,250 people still are missing there, six days after the storm hit, and the death toll is expected to rise as relief efforts continue. (Full story)


International relief workers trying to distribute supplies Friday were mobbed by desperate people, many of whom said they had not eaten since their homes were destroyed last weekend, when Jeanne hit.


Jeanne left more than 250,000 people homeless in Haiti's northwest province, which includes the port of Gonaives.


The days since have been a desperate time of survival. Without ceremony, mass graves were being filled with both human and animal carcasses. Survivors set up camp on rooftops surrounded by contaminated waters and compromised food supplies.





Florida braces again


Jeanne follows hurricanes Charley and Frances, which hit the Florida Peninsula, and Ivan, which pounded the Panhandle, even though its eye made landfall on the Alabama coast.


Bush warned the state to take Jeanne seriously. Calling it a "brutal" storm, he urged people to take in their neighbors as a way to help people move away from the coastline.


"Yes, we are tired and our resources are stretched," he said, adding that the state has the additional complication of few available hotel rooms because so many are filled with relief workers.


The National Hurricane Center's prediction of the most likely path has the storm making landfall between Fort Pierce and Melbourne, Florida, then hugging the coastline from Florida to the Carolinas.


"I know this has become quite a challenge for people," the governor said. "On the east coast, there have been evacuation orders now on a regular basis, and maybe people are saying, 'enough of this. I'm gonna ride this one out.'


"These storms are brutal in terms of the wind force, and this storm has the potential of being similar to Ivan in terms of the strength of the winds and a powerful force. I know people are frustrated. I know they're tired of this and, trust me, your governor is as well, but we should heed the warnings of the experts as it relates to evacuating" if the needs arise.


The string of hurricanes has pummeled Florida's tourism industry, with many oceanfront resorts damaged and some highways washed out. (Full story)


The hurricane center noted that sundown Friday until sundown Saturday will be Yom Kippur, a solemn Jewish holiday. Observant Jews in the watch and warning areas "will not be listening to radios or watching TV ... and may not be aware of the hurricane situation," the center said in a statement posted on its Web site.

Residual problems remain


Even as Florida prepares for Jeanne, electricity has not been completely restored from the previous storms.


Bush said relief efforts have provided more than 7.4 million meals and 18 million pounds of ice. Schools are starting to open and government officials were working with power companies to get all power restored.


Utility companies had restored power to 78 percent of homes in the Panhandle, he said. As of Thursday evening, about 68,000 customers were without electricity in Escambia County, and about 25,000 had no power in Santa Rosa County.


Some hurricane-related power outages also continue in Alabama, Georgia and North Carolina.





Ivan dumps heavy rains


Meanwhile, Ivan weakened to a tropical depression as it moved inland along the southwestern Louisiana and upper Texas coasts.


Parts of southwestern Louisiana received as much as 8 inches of rain, and Jefferson County, Texas, received between 3 and 3.5 inches in a four-hour period, The Associated Press reported.


As of 5 p.m. ET, Ivan was between Huntsville and Lufkin, about 120 miles north of Houston, Texas. The storm had stalled, the Hydrometeorological Prediction Center in Camp Springs, Maryland, said.


Ivan slammed ashore as a hurricane a week ago on the Alabama coast, spreading havoc from the Gulf Coast into North Carolina.


Over the next few days, its remnants curled back into the Gulf of Mexico, where they regrouped and regained tropical storm strength late Wednesday.






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