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Dangerous JEANNE's imminent landfall


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Dangerous Jeanne about to landfall in Florida

9:13 p.m. ET ET Sat.,Sep.25,2004


Jonathan Erdman and M. Ressler, Sr. Meteorologists, The Weather Channel



Bottom Line

# Dangerous Category 3 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 115 mph, as of 9 p.m. ET


# Hurricane warning in effect along the Florida east coast from Florida City northward to St. Augustine, including Lake Okeechobee. (Map: Complete storm advisories)


# Tides of 1 to 3 feet above normal in the warned area along the Florida west coast and possibly reaching 3 to 6 feet in some areas.


# Isolated tornadoes are possible over portions of the east Florida peninsula tonight

Dangerous Hurricane Jeanne remains a Category 3 storm on the Saffir-Simpson scale. Maximum sustained winds within Jeanne's eyewall are now roughly sustained at 115 mph. This makes Jeanne the sixth major hurricane of the season in the Atlantic Basin. Additional strengthening is possible before landfall.


In the last 44 years, only 1961 witnessed more major hurricanes in the Atlantic Basin. There were seven major hurricanes that year. The most major hurricanes ever recorded in one season occurred in 1950: five Category 3s, two Category 4s and one Category 5. Incredibly, Jeanne will be the fourth hurricane to impact the state of Florida this season, and the fifth named storm to do so.


Jeanne raked the northwest Bahamas Saturday and Florida's south-central Atlantic coast is under the gun tonight. Damage was reported as the eyewall crossed Abaco Island in the northwest Bahamas this morning. A report from Settlement Point on the western tip of Grand Bahama Island indicated sustained winds of 79 mph and gusts to 97 mph as the eye passed by just to the north.


Hurricane warnings continue along Florida's east coast from Florida City to St. Augustine. Hurricane watches continue from St. Augustine, Fla. to Altamaha Sound, Ga. Hurricane watches have now been hoisted on a portion of Florida's gulf coast from the Suwanee River to Englewood.


It's important to keep in mind that a hurricane is not a "point." Hurricane-force winds extend 70 miles from the center of the storm and tropical-storm-force winds extend 205 miles. Frances's eye is about to pass between Vero Beach and West Palm Beach. There is a significant chance that Jeanne will landfall stronger than Frances did on Sept. 4-5.


Water rises from 6 to 9 feet can be expected near and to the north of where the eye makes landfall. Also, a storm surge of up to 7 feet is possible along the east side of Lake Okeechobee. Battering waves from 20 to 30 feet can also be expected along the aforementioned section of Florida's east coast, near and north of the eye's path. These battering waves may cause significant beach erosion along areas of the coast still recovering from Frances, which hit almost three weeks ago.


Jeanne's winds will be very destructive to mobile homes and cause significant damage to permanent structures from south of Daytona Beach to just north of West Palm Beach. Tree and power line damage will be most extensive from Jacksonville to West Palm Beach. Due to Jeanne's forward speed and initial category-3 strength, hurricane-force winds will likely penetrate well into central Florida Sunday morning. Inland hurricane wind warnings have been posted in Orlando, for example. Despite steady weakening once inland, the area of widespread downed trees and power lines will expand Sunday to also include much of the central and western portions of the Florida Peninsula.


The threat for tornadoes in particularly distinct rainbands will increase tonight and Sunday as Jeanne tracks over the Florida Peninsula. A few outer rainbands Saturday may generate an isolated tornado ahead of Jeanne.


As the circulation of Jeanne tracks across central and northern Florida Sunday, winds around the storm's west side may produce a water rise of 2 feet or higher along part of Florida's Gulf Coast, from Apalachicola to Naples. Waves from 6 to 10 feet can also be expected from Clearwater Beach southward to Naples.


Jeanne is expected to curl northward, then northeastward late Sunday into Monday, heading into Georgia and eventually the Carolinas by late Monday or Tuesday. Strong winds, heavy rainfall, and tornadoes will be the hazards in this area as Jeanne races northeastward.


Lisa had regenerated into a tropical storm well away from land masses in the south-central Atlantic. It is still expected to bend northward, roughly following a path similar to Karl's earlier this week.

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