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Posted by:Sep 26th 2004, 01:09:22 am
Fig Tree News TeamHey, just found this at the Miami Herald:

FREEPORT - No deaths reported yet in Bahamas

Updated at 11:45 p.m. EST Saturday

Bahamas radio said it had received no reports of deaths or significant injuries.

Several Freeport churches called in to announce that Sunday services would be held on their regular schedule.

Talk show hosts noted the back-to-back hits from Hurricanes Jeanne and Frances was challenge to the government and predicted it would have to put off some large-scale development and infrastructure programs. But they urged Bahamians to have patience -- and not file claims for fraudulent damage.

The station wound up its news and talk show programs with a gospel song whose refrain was Just Hold on to Jesus and Ride out the Storm.

-- JUAN O. TAMAYO

Damage slight as Jeanne wind whips northern Broward

Updated at 11:30 p.m. Saturday

While Jeanne was pounding southern Palm Beach County late Saturday night, western Pompano Beach seemed spared by the high winds. While traffic lights were out at a number of major intersections -- including U.S. 441 and Atlantic Boulevard as well as a number of lights on Dixie Highway -- the damage seemed to be slight.

There were downed trees, street signs and a marquee sign at a Burger King on Powerline Road. But that didn't seem to matter.

On Saturday night, most of Broward County was a ghost town.

''We could have closed at 8 p.m.,'' said Carlos Abreu, a waiter at the Spring Garden Chinese restaurant in Coral Springs. ``We had power, but no one was on the roads. No one was coming in. It was a mixture of Yom Kippur and the hurricane. It was just very slow.''

James Rodriguez, owner of the Circus Sports Bar and Grill in western Pompano Beach, was one of the lucky business owners in his neighborhood. Rodriguez's establishment did not lose power during Hurricane Frances or Jeanne. The day after Frances landed, Rodriguez's bar was standing room only.

''No one else around had electricity,'' said Rodriguez, who plans on doing a benefit for Haitian hurricane relief this week.

``It was like New Year's Eve and it's starting to look like that again. We feel bad for the businesses around here who don't have power anymore, but until things go totally wrong, we're staying open. We're having a hurricane party. If the police came in and said we had to close, we would. But that hasn't happened.''

There were a number of power outages in Pompano, with many side streets dark and flooded. Off of I-95 and Cypress Creek Road, a number of businesses were suffering from power outages -- including the Westin Hotel on the east side of the highway. Businesses and homes on the west side of I-95 for the most part were spared.

With some exceptions.

''I live in Palm Aire and my house is dark, but my business is still going with power,'' said Rob Grotz, who manages Anglesea Pub in eastern Pompano. ``I think everyone is getting tired of dealing with these hurricanes.''

-- GEORGE RICHARDS

Thousands lose power in Deerfield

Updated at 11:35 p.m. Saturday

Hurricane Jeanne was causing huge problems in parts of Deerfield Beach. The northwestquadrant of the city is experiencing major power outages, 8,500 homes late Saturday.

''We were on the phone with Florida Power & Light all morning trying to make sure that they would be able to restore power quickly,'' said City Manager Larry Deetjean. ``The area of the city being hit the hardest is the same area hit by Frances, it's deja vu. Our situation is serious.''

Four lift stations are down due to outages. Power lines are down and sparking on Goolsby Boulevard next to the city's public works department, which will hamper clean-up efforts, city officials said.

Two of city's fire stations are running auxilary power, including the Deerfield Beach's main fire station at 920 E. Hillsboro Blvd. One of the county's special needs shelters is, as well.

Downed trees line both sides of Hillsboro Boulevard. Power lines snake across roads.

Pompano Beach deputies have been pulled off the road.

There are reports that a large tree toppled over onto a home in Pompano Beach and the city is reporting gusts up to 67 mph in Pompano Beach with sustained winds of 46 mph.

-- WANDA DE MARZO

At Deerfield Beach Motel: `So far so good'

Updated at 11:35 p.m. Saturday

Ten guests at the Deerfield Beach Motel on A1A were waiting out the storm at the hotel, which still had power but no cable TV by 11 p.m. Saturday, said owner Bolek Kaminski.

''So far, so good,'' Kaminski told the Herald in a telephone interview. ``We lost Cable TV but we have power. Once in a while the lights blink on and off but we still have power.

''Seems like it's quieting down. A half-hour ago it was terrible. Very windy. Whoooooooo,'' he said, mimicking the sound. ``We moved here from New York 10 years ago and we have never heard anything like that.''

But so far, he was faring pretty well, he said late Saturday.

``We're lucky. The wind is coming from the west and our motel faces east.''

Kaminski said he had taken a look around outside and didn't notice any significant damage anywhere. But it was early still. Though Frances didn't really damage his property, this storm is different, he said. ``This wind is worse.''

He said the guests that remained in four of his property's 15 rooms refused to go -- even after a police officer came by earlier in the afternoon.

'A police officer was here and told them, ``You have to leave.' But they don't want to go nowhere,'' Kaminski said.

-- ELAINE DE VALLE

Most of Broward a ghost county

Updated at 11:30 p.m. Saturday

While Jeanne was pounding southern Palm Beach County late Saturday night, western Pompano Beach seemed spared by the high winds. While traffic lights were out at a number of major intersections -- including U.S. 441 and Atlantic Boulevard as well as a number of lights on Dixie Highway -- the damage seemed to be slight.

There were downed trees, street signs, and a marquee sign at a Burger King on Powerline Road. But that didn't seem to matter.

On Saturday night, most of Broward County was a ghost town.

''We could have closed at 8 p.m.,'' said Carlos Abreu, a waiter at the Spring Garden Chinese restaurant in Coral Springs. ``We had power, but no one was on the roads. No one was coming in. It was a mixture of Yom Kippur and the hurricane. It was just very slow.''

James Rodriguez, owner of the Circus Sports Bar and Grill in western Pompano Beach, was one of the lucky business owners in his neighborhood. Rodriguez's establishment did not lose power during Hurricane Frances and the same held true during Jeanne. The day after Frances landed, Rodriguez's bar was standing room only.

''No one else around had electricity,'' said Rodriguez, who plans on doing a benefit for Haitian hurricane relief this week.

``It was like New Year's Eve and it's starting to look like that again. We feel bad for the businesses around here who don't have power anymore, but until things go totally wrong, we're staying open. We're having a hurricane party. If the police came in and said we had to close, we would. But that hasn't happened.''

There were a number of power outages in Pompano, with many side streets dark and flooded. Off of I-95 and Cypress Creek Road, a number of businesses were suffering from power outages -- including the Westin hotel on the east side of the highway. Businesses and homes on the west side of I-95 for the most part were spared.

With some exceptions.

''I live in Palm Aire and my house is dark but my business is still going with power,'' said Rob Grotz, who manages Anglesea Pub in eastern Pompano. ``I think everyone is getting tired of dealing with these hurricanes.''

-- GEORGE RICHARDS

Four-foot floods reported

Updated at 11 p.m. Saturday

GRAND BAHAMA ISLAND -- The Bahamas' government-run radio reported four-foot floodwaters in the South Bahamia section of Grand Bahama, the largest island in the chain.

Abacos and Grand Bahamas suffered ''big hits,'' with several houses in Freeport destroyed by floodwaters, the radio reported. But residents of Spanish Wells reported that Jeanne had caused little damage there.

Winds in Freeport were slowing down, the radio said, but weathermen warned of a significant band of rain about to hit the city.

The government's electricity agency reported it would start trying to restore power at 10 a.m. Sunday. Only 50 percent of the island had recovered power as of Friday, three weeks after Hurricane Frances hit the Bahamas.

A man called the radio station to thank rescuers who came to remove him and his wife from his flooded house, where he had chosen to stay to take care of his two German Shepherds.

''All of a sudden water started coming in from every which way,'' the man said. ``It's an experience I really don't wish on anybody.''

-- JUAN O. TAMAYO

Palm Beach policeman: `It is ripping here, dude'

Updated at 10:35 p.m. Saturday

PALM BEACH -- Shortly after 10 p.m., Palm Beach police Officer Kevin Morine stepped outside to take a look.

''It is ripping here, dude,'' he said. ``I'm outside right now. I mean the winds are howling, the trees are bent over. . . . A chair flew by us earlier.''

Morine said he and other members of the Special Operations Unit were at the station playing cards, watching the news, and looking forward to shift change. Come morning, they'd have a chance to check on their homes and families.

''I'm sick of this,'' Morine said. ``It's just so taxing on you emotionally and mentally and physically. I've lost at least 10 pounds since the beginning of Frances.''

-- SAM NITZE

He's not crazy. He just wants to measure Jeanne's wind speeds

Updated at 10 p.m. Saturday

VERO BEACH -- Forrest Masters stood in the path of Hurricane Jeanne Saturday night. He wanted to.

''Wow. I better get into the shelter,'' said the hurricane chaser, who was driving around in mobile unit. ``It's pretty wet and windy and the transformers are starting to go.''

Masters is not crazy; he's an assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering at Florida International University who is conducting a project to measure the ground level wind speeds of powerful hurricanes like Jeanne.

Days ago, Masters and his team set up four towers near the likely path of Jeanne. Saturday he spent the night monitoring the one in Vero Beach, keeping it fueled and functioning.

''This is the one that will likely experience the pressure of the eyewall - at least that's what I think as of 9:44 p.m.'' he said. ``This thing can still shift.''

The other towers are at Satellite Beach, Titusville and Orlando.

''They will help determine how gusty hurricane winds are,'' he said. Pressure measuring gadgets have also been places in several homes in the area to gage the uplift of homes.

''If there is major damage, we'll be out in the morning to inspect and those instruments can tell us a lot,'' he said.

Masters is affiliated with the International Hurricane Research Center at FIU, not to be confused with the National Hurricane Center.

A project website will give hourly updates of the data being gathered.

Those interested can go to: http://www.ce.ufl.edu/~fcmp Masters is spending the night out of the storm in a shelter at the Vero Beach airport.

''I hope the tower is OK in the morning,'' he said.

-- LUISA YANEZ

So far, so good: Power is on

Updated at 10:02 p.m. Saturday

WEST PALM BEACH -- Margarita Valencic was riding out the advance of the storm in her Australian Avenue house with her 90-year-old father, some friends from Germany, three dogs, a bottle of Pinot Grigio and -- miraculously, she says -- power.

Though the lights have flickered on and off a lot of times, the power had stayed on in this Frances-battered woman's house so far, as of 9 p.m. Saturday. This makes her hopeful.

''With the last one, we lost electricity so soon. And we have still have it, so maybe ...'' she says.

But, having lost power for a week after Frances, she is better prepared this time. Valencic's ex-husband brought over a generator she can use with enough juice to run the refrigerator, freezer, the phone and one light. Her oven and stove runs on gas.

Still, having learned -- thanks, Frances -- of the difficulties that come after the storm, the threat of Jeanne caused her to cancel a much-anticipated surprise birthday party for her father this Friday.

``When the last storm came through we were without power for a week. And there's no way to get things organized with no power. And the grocery stores didn't have anything.''

At 9:15 p.m., the weather outside was ``very windy, very rainy. The winds are strong out there.''

Still, not too strong that one of her German friends couldn't be outside smoking a cigarette.

-- ELAINE de VALLE

Fighting boredom at the shelter

Updated at 9:45 p.m. Saturday

DAVIE -- Seeking to pass the time away, people at the Fox Trail Elementary School shelter in Davie put together their own little talent show.

Participants played guitar and piano. They did comedy routines. And they danced.

Elder Graham, 21, played a duet of Amazing Grace with Luis Guerrero.

''We chose that song because we wanted to give these people some hope,'' Guerrero said as the lights flickered on and off due to the hurricane.

Tennison Washington, 23, an evacuee from Vero Beach, played Scott Joplin songs and some classical music on the piano, prompting a standing ovation.

''I stopped playing for many years, but this gave me a chance to do something good and have a little fun,'' he said.

-- KEVIN DEUTSCH

In Daytona Beach, watching and waiting

Updated at 9:28 p.m. Saturday

DAYTONA BEACH -- At the fully booked Raintree Motel and Apartments, the roof had already blown away, courtesy of Hurricane Frances.

The staff has no idea how much more damage Jeanne could possibly do.

''Right now we have a temporary roof, it's rainy and leaking,'' said Sheila Patel, manager. ``The hurricane is supposed to come at noon tomorrow. It will be bad. ''

Patel estimated that the winds were up to 75 mph.

''It's dripping. We can't do anything,'' she said. ``We're just waiting and praying that everyone will be OK.''

-- MADELEINE MARR

In Pompano, watching and waiting

Updated at 9:05 p.m. Saturday

POMPANO BEACH -- The Beach Comber Hotel and Villa still had power at 9 p.m., but members of its staff (who stayed behind after 50 guests were evacuated this morning) were watching Jeanne's approach with due caution.

''We are just waiting to see what is going to happen tonight,'' said Dario Vasquez, a front desk agent. ``We're going to get a lot of winds here, no doubt about that.''

Luckily, the staff left the shutters up after Frances.

-- ALEXANDRA ALTER

'Scary' winds in Stuart

Updated at 9 p.m. Saturday

STUART -- At the Southwind Motel, along South Federal Highway in Stuart, things are ''scary'' for manager Mike Parikh, who is waiting out the storm with his wife and two kids.

The motel is without power. Parikh broke out the candles for his 50-some guests.

Although he can't see outside, due to the shuttered windows, he can hear Jeanne raging outside.

''It sounds very scary. The whistling, the hard rain, it's very strong,'' say Parikh, who estimated gusts at more than 100 mph.

''It gets quiet,'' he said, ``but that is when you know more is coming.''

-- MADELEINE MARR

Andrew, Frances -- deja vu all over again

Updated at 9 p.m. Saturday

POMPANO BEACH -- Don and Claudine Ryce live in an oak- and palm-tree-lined neighborhood on a barrier island off the mainland in Pompano Beach. They hope the trees will still be there when they return.

''You can never replace them, not in our lifetime,'' said Claudine, who runs the Center for Victims of Predatory Abuse. She and her husband lost an acre and a half of avocado trees when Hurricane Andrew tore through their property in The Redland.

Shuttered into a friends' house on the mainland, the couple reported the first hurricane gusts were rattling the windows at 8:45 p.m.

But experience breeds confidence in hurricane survivors.

''We've been through this before. We'll be all right,'' said Don, an attorney. By living through several hurricanes, they picked up a couple of tips: One is to make sure you have a manual can opener, because the electric one won't work when the power goes out.

''What's hard about this is that it's coming so soon after Frances,'' he said. ``It's hard for us, like everyone around here, to pick ourselves off the ground.''

-- ALEXANDRA ALTER

Street vendors cash in

Updated at 8:50 p.m. Saturday

LITTLE HAVANA -- Like restaurants, bars, and grocery stores that stayed open despite the threat of Jeanne for the boon of desperate customers, street vendors in Little Havana also saw a chance to cash in on the threat of heavy rain and wind.

Maria Carbajalo ducked out of the rain into Yambo Nicaraguan restaurant. Still wearing a plastic poncho she bought earlier in the day from the dollar store, she was having a bite to eat before hitting the street to sell her last four bouquets of flowers and a few more teddy bears. ''The people who went out during Frances made a killing. They were brave.'' Carbajalo said. '' This time I said, `I'm working.''' Jeanne wasn't as generous with customers. ''People aren't buying, I've only sold $50. ``I'll sell what I can until nine or ten and then go home,'' she said.

-- MONICA HATCHER

Power line blocks entrance to hospital

Updated at 8:35 p.m. Saturday

High winds knocked down a power line in Hollywood blocking the entrances to Hollywood Medical Center in Hollywood.

Hollywood fire prevention officer Rob Hazen said the power line snapped around 8 p.m. and slid across Washington Street blocking the entrances to the emergency and main entrance of the hospital.

Patients are being directed to Memorial Regional Hospital while Fire Rescue stands sentry at the site of the charged wire. Florida Power & Light is expected to remove the power line within an hour, Hazen said.

-- WANDA J. DE MARZO

Bail bondsman bemoans the loss of business

Updated at 8:31 p.m. Saturday

Davit Letts, a bail bondsman in Vero Beach, is riding out Hurricane Jeanne in his office on U.S. 1. That's because his house has a hole in the roof, the handiwork of Frances, which bruised the area earlier this month.

``The winds are howling, and it's terrible weather outside, but we're lucky. We still have power and cable. My son and grandson already lost their electricity. I've got a feeling we're really gonna get it tonight.''

Saturday night, Letts lamented the loss of business from people who got in trouble and wanted out of the county jail.

''I've gotten calls this afternoon from people who needed a bail bondsman, but I told them there's a curfew in place. I can't go out and get arrested myself, you know? They're gonna have to wait until morning and we'll see then,'' Letts said.

Letts said this hurricane season has all but killed his bail bond business, which he runs with his son, Daniel.

''It's one-fifth of what it used to be,'' he said. ``With all this destruction, deputies are just not arresting people like they used to.''

-- LUISA YANEZ

Spared, Miami Beach begins to wake up again

Updated at 8:30 p.m. Saturday

After escaping even tropical storm conditions, South Beach wasted no time in restarting the party for Saturday night. Party promoter Michael Capponi from Mansion nightclub, at 1235 Washington Ave., emailed his contact list that the club would be open tonight, as did the Forge restaurant on 41st Street.

-- KENDALL HAMERSLY

Hollywood institutes curfew for barrier islands

Updated at 8:25 p.m. Saturday

The City of Hollywood instituted a curfew as of 8 tonight for the barrier islands. The curfew will remain in effect until 8 a.m. Sunday.

Alcohol sales will not be permitted in beach areas during the curfew hours.

For the safety and security of all Hollywood residents and businesses, all residents are urged to stay inside until the effects of Hurricane Jeanne has cleared the area, which is expected to be later Sunday morning.

Residents with questions or concerns can call Broward County's hurricane hotline at 954-831-4000 or the City of Hollywood's Rumor Control Hotline at 954-967-4467.

Residents also can log onto the city's website at www.hollywoodfl.org or tune in to the city's government access channel, Comcast Channel 33.

-- PATRICIA ANDREWS

Stretch of Vero's Ocean Drive crumbles

Updated at 8:15 p.m. Saturday

A stretch of Vero Beach's oceanfront street was crumbling into the sea late Saturday and debris leftover from Hurricane Frances that hit three weeks ago was sailing in several places.

''Water is washing over the dune and washing over Ocean Drive,'' Vero Beach Police Chief Jim Gabbard said late Saturday following a brief, after-dark tour of the beach area. ``A lot more of the road has gone.

''I saw aluminum flying around,'' Gabbard said. ``It is pretty hazardous out there.''

Piles of Hurricane Frances debris lying at the roadside for days are taking to the air, he said.

''Stuff that has been in piles is flying around,'' Gabbard said.

Siding is peeling off a beachfront condo complex heavily damaged by Frances, he said.

-- PHIL LONG

Boat apparently a goner

Updated at 7:30 p.m. Saturday

FORT PIERCE -- For Vinny Ignico, 55, the storms approach was especially wrenching.

Three years ago, Ignico realized his boyhood dream and moved into a 36-foot fishing boat moored in Fort Pierce's city marina. The boat survived Frances, but Ignico dared not hope that it withstands the far more powerful Jeanne.

As Jeanne's relentless rain kept hammering Fort Pierce, Ignico spent a few last moments gazing wistfully at his treasure, his dog Chloe by his side.

''I'm probably going to lose my boat,'' he said.

Ragged mounds of plywood, fiberglass, and roofing torn off by Frances still litter the city's curbsides and emergency crews braced for a doubly exhausting cleanup after Jeanne passed through.

-- CARA BUCKLEY

We need a `go-away pill'

Updated at 7:30 p.m. Saturday

STUART -- Just as night fell, Dottie Reyes, her 88-year-old mother, Louise Colburn, and their friend, Joe Webb, were playing the card game ''31'' in the dark at the Stuart Holiday Inn.

The three hoped the game would distract them from worrying about their homes in Tropical Acres, a mobile park in Jensen Beach. That and jokes about the whitecaps that Jeanne was begining to stir up in the swimming pool outside their first-floor room.

All three were too worried to sleep.

''It would be nice to take a pill and wake up and have it be gone,'' said Reyes, 59.

''A go-away pill,'' added Webb.

The three were among the few evacuees at the hotel. Most rooms were filled by relief workers, construction crews and insurance adjusters who had been sent to help mop up after Frances. It was far different during Frances, Reyes said, when more than a dozen of their neighbors were staying at the hotel, too. Most went to shelters this time, she said.

As the power went out, people congregated outside of their rooms on the hotel's breezeway, shouting with surprise when they saw sparks down the street from a blown transformer.

-- ERIKA BOLSTAD

Scenes from Palm Beach

Updated at 7:30 p.m. Saturday

PALM BEACH -- Two students from Palm Beach Atlantic University waded into the ocean Saturday evening, looking for bragging rights and a cold jolt of adrenaline.

''Now we can tell our friends we were out in the ocean during a hurricane,'' said a grinning Dalton Freed, 21. ``Knee deep and you could feel the tug.''

Former iron worker Phil Kearney vowed to spend the night in a pickup parked at the Palm Beach gas station where he works maintenance. The owners wanted him there to watch out for looters, he said, and besides, what's a little wind?

''If you can walk a steel beam 425 feet in the air, you going to be afraid of a hurricane?'' he said. ``Why would it bother me?''

Police cruised the coastal neighborhoods, urging stragglers to head a mandatory evacuation order. And by sundown Palm Beach looked like a ghost town, the streets mostly empty, the shops boarded up, a few stragglers here and there making their exit or heading indoors for a stormy night.

-- SAM NITZE

Coast Guard searches for surfer

Updated at 7:45 p.m. Saturday

MIAMI BEACH -- The Coast Guard searched into the night Saturday for a surfer reported missing off Miami Beach at 71st Street. The Miami Beach Coast Guard station sent one truck and an HH-65 Dolphin helicopter to scan the waters. All Coast Guard beach stations closed for the storm, so no boats joined the search.

Witnesses on the beach around 5:30 Saturday afternoon saw a lone man in the water calling for help and alerted authorities, said Petty Officer Ken Cholak.

The helicopter search extends six nautical miles along the beach and 1 ˝ miles into the ocean. Officials said they would continue looking until winds grew too fierce to manage the helicopter.

Several groups of surfers were in the water, and Coast Guard officers tried to discern whether the missing man may have joined them.

-- NIKKI WALLER

Lights out at the Fort Pierce Jai-alai Fronton

Updated 7:15 p.m. Saturday

FORT PIERCE -- ''Oh, oh, the lights are starting to go out; we're feeling it,'' said the security guard on the telephone from the Jai-alai fronton in Fort Pierce, which was expected to feel the brunt of Hurricane Jeanne. ``This phone will probably go dead.''

Jonathan Garate and other employees were getting ready for a long night of protecting the closed fronton, just west of downtown Fort Pierce.

During Hurricane Frances, some 50 people -- workers and their relatives -- took refuge in the sturdy old building, but things did not go well and on Saturday only employees were present.

''The building is made of reinforced concrete and can stand the winds, but the last time water started accumulating on the ceiling and coming down the light fixtures,'' Garate said of France's damage.

In a panic, the storm refugees had to run to a secure area. ``It was a little scary.''

And that wasn't all.

Looters were spotted casing the place. Garate and other guards scared them away.

''It's gonna be a long night,'' Garate said.

-- LUISA YANEZ

Relief supplies ready to move in Homestead

Updated at 7:15 p.m. Saturday

Major Larry Chauncey, the deputy logistics chief for Florida's emergency management staff, said that there were 12 trucks of ice, 25 trucks of water and 10 trucks of ready-to-eat meals in Homestead. Each ice truck holds 44,000 pounds of ice, 4,750 gallons of water and 22,000 meals.

State officials made the decision to place supplies in South Florida so they can move supplies rapidly into affected areas. During Hurricane Frances, relief efforts were hampered because trucks were located north of the storm and had to wait until it cleared completely through the state before they could move.

'Now we're in the south and can move north, and it works a lot better,' said Chauncey, who said that trucks from Homestead will begin moving out to West Palm Beach on Sunday.

Chauncey said that a total of 400 trucks of ice, 291 trucks of water and 101 of ready-to-eat meals would be used in relief efforts for Hurricane Jeanne. He also said that they were planning on flying another 60 truckloads worth of water and meals from Atlanta to Miami to ship to West Palm Beach.

-- LARRY LEBOWITZ

Neither rain, nor snow, nor Jeanne ...

Updated 7:12 p.m. Saturday

COCOA BEACH -- Good to know you can still get pizza delivered in the midst of a major storm. Papa Vito's pizza parlor, on North Atlantic Avenue, didn't close during Frances and they don't plan on closing for Jeanne.

''We're gonna feed everybody we possibly can,'' said owner Billy Graham.

Everybody who orders their slices by 8:30 p.m, that is. That's Cocoa Beach's curfew.

Papa Vito's cooks the pies in gas ovens and the refrigerator runs by generator. During Frances, he said the kitchens got up to 120 degrees and it was extremely ``hectic.''

-- MADELEINE MARR

Wary restaurant personnel keep watch

Updated at 7 p.m. Saturday

OKEECHOBEE -- Dee Mitchell, the bookkeeper at Barracudas Sports Grillery in Okeechobee, planned to ride out Jeanne watching over the boarded up restaurant and planned to be there all night. The last customers were ushered out at 6:30, she said, when the restaurant closed in anticipation of bad weather.

''It's just drizzling rain now, but that's subject to change at any time, they tell us,'' she said over a TV blaring weather reports in the background. ``It's supposed to get bad. I hope it doesn't because I don't like hurricanes.''

-- ALEXANDRA ALTER

Neighbors helping each other out

Updated at 7 p.m. Saturday

PORT ST. LUCIE -- Vikki Galasso has noticed ``the camaradarie of the neighbors. People really helping people, board up and all the other stuff. I think there is more of a unity, a coming together, of people. Everybody is just beat, hanging in there, and everybody feels the same way about hunkering down in their own homes, not wanting to leave.''

''Businesswise, I can't even imagine. There was $7 million in damage to my [law] office in Stuart. We had to relocate,'' Galasso said.

-- KENDALL HAMERSLY

In Cocoa, a stormy night approaches

Updated at 6:54 p.m. Saturday

COCOA -- In ever darkening Cocoa, reports of serious wind, with sheets of heavy rain. ``We have the house boarded up, said resident Darla Lane. ``We are well supplied and have a generator ready to go.''

Lane said they suffered minor damage during Frances but are expecting something more serious with Jeanne.

''We are ready to ride this thing out,'' Lane said.

-- MADELEINE MARR

Sense of complacency in Vero Beach

Updated at 6:45 Saturday

VERO BEACH -- Saturday evening, this town was holding a bull's eye for Jeanne, and emergency coordinator Nathan McCollum is worried sick. ''There are nowhere near the number of people in shelter that should be there,'' McCollum said of the evacuation order, which affected some 40,000 residents. ``We think we'll have a bigger search and rescue problem after this storm than after Frances. All day today we tried to tell people that this one would be worse.''

Vero Beach came into play as possible landfall for Jeanne at around 3 p.m. -- too late for any major mobilization, he said.

''There's nothing we can do now,'' McCollum said. Heavy rains and winds up to 40 mph were already sweeping into the area. ''We're all hunkered down where we're going to sit out the storm,'' he said from the emergency center. ``All we can do is hope for the best.''

-- LUISA YANEZ

West Palm Beach awaits 10 p.m. curfew

Updated at 6:32 p.m. Saturday

WEST PALM BEACH -- Roxy's restaurant on Clematis Street was shuttered, but chef Wallace Simon was still there, battening down the rest of the hatches.

''The wind is starting to pick up and I just saw an awning blow off across the street,'' said Simon.

Down the street at O'Shea's Irish Pub, at least 50 bar-goers were still throwing back a few as they awaited 10 p.m. curfew to take effect. Owner Morris Costigan was to serve his last drink at 9:30 p.m. ''At the moment [6:30 p.m.], it is a lovely evening,'' he said. ``Some squalls came through, but right now it's a great night.''

For Costigan, his bar is safer than his home, so he will bunk there until Jeanne passes.

There could be worse places to be.

''My customers are happy and having a great time,'' he said.

-- HART BAUR

Canadian tourists bused from cruise ship to storm shelter

Updated at 6:15 p.m. Saturday

Ten people from Ontario, Canada, were looking for a week of sunshine, swimming and relaxation on board a seven-day cruise through the Caribbean.

But instead of touring the Cayman Islands and Jamaica on several different cruise ships, they were stranded at the Fox Trail Elementary School shelter in Davie.

The cruise lines postponed the trip and put the tourists on a bus to the shelter. They are hoping the cruise will be rescheduled for tomorrow.

''We wanted fine dining, not standing in a soup line,'' said Edie Watts. ``We were really ready for that cruise.''

But Dave Aikin, 64, said he has always wanted to experience a hurricane.

''In Canada, I watch a lot of the Florida newscasts, and I've always wanted to ride out one of these storms,'' Aikin said. ``So this satisfies one of my queer little fantasies.''

George and Kathy Bell were hoping to drink a little wine and watch the sunset on the cruise. Instead, shelter staff served them cups of grape juice.

''We just wanted to have a romantic getaway,'' said Kathy, 63. ``But we'll have to make the best of it.''

-- KEVIN DEUTSCH

Just a 'rainy, dark day' in Port St. Lucie

Updated at 6:30 p.m. Saturday

PORT ST. LUCIE -- It was looking less like a hurricane here than just a soggy, dank day.

''It's dark outside,'' said Diana Lopez, an auditor at the Holiday Inn, Port St. Lucie, which was fully booked. ``It looks like it's a lot later than it is.''

Lopez had recently been outside and estimated that the winds were around 50 mph. ''Yes, it's breezy out there,'' she said, adding, ``I was nervous but it's a lot calmer than Frances.''

The guests seem to be more at ease with this one too. ''Everyone is talking, watching television, making new friends,'' Lopez said.

But it was going to be a long night, she said: ``It's getting worse out there.''

-- MADELEINE MARR

Little apparent concern in Jacksonville area

Updated at 6:30 p.m. Saturday

JACKSONVILLE -- The last direct hit on Northeast Florida was 1964's Hurricane Dora. The region braced for disaster in 1999, but Hurricane Floyd's last-second jog left the region largely unharmed.

The bulk of Jeanne was not expected to reach North Florida until Sunday night, but Jacksonville showed few of the signs South Floridians associate with an approaching storm: Shuttered windows were rare, gas pumps were full and stores had deep supplies of bottled water, flashlights and beer.

''It's been so long you wonder if people have any idea what our neighbors to the south or west have experienced,'' said Jacksonville Mayor John Peyton, 39, who was not born when Dora struck.

-- MATTHEW I. PINZUR

No alcohol sold in Flagler County

Updated at 6:30 p.m. Saturday

Flagler County banned the sale of alcohol from 6 tonight through 8 a.m. Monday morning.

''The reason is to ensure the safety and welfare of the residents, so they remain alert during this storm period,'' said sheriff's office spokeswoman Debra Johnson. ``It's also aimed at reducing domestic disturbances during the storm, so people are not at home drinking and getting into disagreements and arguments.''

-- MATTHEW I. PINZUR

`Otherwise, we live in paradise'

Updated at 6 p.m. Saturday

PORT ST. LUCIE -- Vikki Galasso of southeastern Port St. Lucie had an adventure with her car trying to keep Jeanne's wind and rain from ruining it:

She and husband Charlie went to put the car between our house and our neighbor's house to protect it, but we had to tow it out because the ground was too soft from rain from previous storms.

She reported 35-40-mile and hour winds, hard rain but not devastating so far, and not that much wind noise. We're shuttered up again and got all our propane barbecue grill ready to go, food that we can heat and cook readily outside.

What's going through her mind: ``I'm waiting for the shoe to drop. We went to Chattanooga., Tenn., for Frances and swore we'd never leave again. The traffic was horrendous. We were afraid we were gonna end up getting caught in the storm on the road. It took us 27 ˝ hours to get to Chattanooga, about twice as long as it should take.

''Everybody is just emotionally and physically exhausted,'' she said. Does not make her want to leave Florida, though. ``Otherwise, we live in paradise.''

-- KENDALL HAMERSLY

BSO deputy prepares haute cuisine at shelter

Updated at 5:51 p.m. Saturday

MIRAMAR -- Broward Sheriff's Office deputy Rolin Gordon prepared dinner for colleagues stationed with him on security detail at the New Renaissance Middle School cafeteria in Miramar.

Gordon, who also was stationed at the school during Hurricane Frances, brought three, 12-inch sautee pans and two knives.

At around 5 p.m. Saturday, he sprinkled seasonings onto semi-defrosted tilapia and swiftly peeled potatoes for the meal of herbs, ash potatoes, pan-seared tilapia, sauteed zucchini and yellow squash he was preparing.

He wore a white apron over his BSO uniform and brought enough food for three days.

''I have already been told, `We want French toast and pancakes,''' he said.

Gordon plans to oblige his fans tomorrow morning.

-- JERRY BERRIOS

Mostly quiet in Nassau

Updated at 5:30 p.m. Saturday

NASSAU -- In Nassau, Bahamas, Jeanne's wrath was mainly bad weather Saturday.

''It is cloudy, there is a light rain and we have a nice strong breeze, but that's all we're feeling right now from Jeanne,'' said Jack Johnson, the bell captain at the Wyndham Nassau Resort and Crystal Palace casino.

A sign that the threat was minimal: The casino remained open.

``Of course, Jeanne could always turn around. We hear Great Abaco, some 80 miles north from us, is feeling it more.''

-- LUISA YANEZ

Freeport begins feeling effects of Jeanne

Updated at 3:02 p.m. Saturday

FREEPORT -- Bahamian radio stations are reporting gusts of up to 115 mph are hitting Grand Bahamas island as Hurricane Jeanne hits the island.

There's been no official word from Abacos island to the east, hit first by Jeanne, but radio stations are reporting many roofs damaged.

Guests at the Royal Islander Hotel on Grand Bahamas say the roof is creaking under the powerful winds.

-- MICHAEL A.W. OTTEY

Power out on Grand Bahama

Updated at 10 a.m. Saturday

All of Grand Bahamas lost power shortly before 10 a.m. Saturday as Jeanne approached, with many trees and power lines already down.

The eastern part of the largest island in the Bahamas was getting the worst pounding, and flooding was reported along coastal areas.

Two people stranded in a truck in 4-foot high waters in the notoriously flood-prone Fishing Hole Road had to be rescued by police.

No injuries have been reported so far.

The government has set up 30 shelters throughout the island. But many Bahamians have moved into the few hotels that are open. Most of the hotels were closed after suffering damages during Hurricane Frances.

-- MICHAEL A.W. OTTEY
Posted by:Sep 25th 2004, 06:21:21 pm
Fig Tree News TeamHurricane Jeanne batters Bahamas

By TAMMI MITCHELL, Associated Press - (Published September 25, 2004)

FREEPORT, Bahamas (AP) - Hurricane Jeanne strengthened to a dangerous Category 3 storm as it battered the Bahamas with violent winds and torrential rains Saturday, making a direct hit on Abaco island and lashing the country's second-largest city, Freeport. Thousands of people took refuge in emergency shelters and boarded-up homes.
Jeanne's eye made a direct hit on the northwestern island of Abaco and its sustained winds quickened to 115 mph, making it the sixth major hurricane of the season. Forecasters said further strengthening was possible before Jeanne hits southeast Florida.

Some neighborhoods were flooded under 5 feet of water on Abaco and Grand Bahama islands, said Matt Maura, spokesman for the Bahamas emergency agency. The winds ripped up roofs and toppled trees, knocking out electric and telephone services in some areas.

There were no reports of deaths or serious injuries, though Freeport police said they used a tractor to rescue two power company officials whose truck was swamped by floodwaters.

About 600 people were riding out the storm in emergency shelters set up in schools and churches in Freeport, officials said. About 700 others took refuge at a school in Marsh Harbor, a town on Abaco island.

"The wind is howling," said Richard Fawkes, a 52-year-old Bahamian. "It's really coming with intensity now."

He said the metal shutters on the windows were rattling in the fierce gusts and that water was seeping inside.

Jeanne's sustained winds increased to 105 mph early Saturday before it hit Abaco, which has a population of 20,000. Forecasters said the hurricane will next tear into Grand Bahama, where more than 70,000 live, many of them in Freeport.

A Category 3 storm has winds of 111 mph-130 mph and is accompanied by a storm surge of 9-12 feet. It can cause extensive damage.

Bahamian officials urged people to evacuate low-lying homes, and shelters were set up in schools and churches on the northwestern islands of Eleuthera, Abaco and Grand Bahama.

Fawkes said he boarded up his beachfront home, which made it through Hurricane Frances largely unscathed three weeks ago, with only some shingles blown off. But this time he worried about rising waters; forecasts said Jeanne could send the sea surging up to eight feet above normal tide levels.

"We can't do anything if the water rises," Fawkes said. "I think people have a lot of battle fatigue from Frances."

Jeanne hit the Bahamas three weeks after the low-lying island chain took a beating from Frances, which killed two people and damaged thousands of homes. Frances toppled rows of power lines, flattened homes and uprooted trees during a two-day lashing of Grand Bahama island.

Many homes still have roofs patched with plastic sheeting, and some homeless residents are still living with relatives or neighbors.

Jeanne struck the Bahamas after devastating Haiti last weekend while it was a tropical storm. Subsequent floods have killed at least 1,500 people in Haiti, parts of which are particularly vulnerable because of deforestation.

At 1 p.m. EDT, Jeanne was over the northwest Bahamas, about 35 miles northeast of Freeport and about 135 miles east of Florida's southeast coast. It was moving west near 14 mph. Hurricane-force winds extended 70 miles from the center and tropical storm-force winds to 205 miles.

People waited in long lines at gas stations in Freeport, crowded into stores to stock up on food and water, and rushed to secure plywood over their windows.

Gusty winds and crashing waves buffeted the Bahamian capital of Nassau.

A hurricane warning covered the northwest Bahamas and most of Florida's east coast, and a tropical storm warning the central Bahamian islands and parts of the northeast Florida and Georgia coasts.

Several cruise ships were diverted, and Grand Bahama's airport was closed Friday night.

"We're shutting down everything," said Christina Williams, an employee at the Great Abaco Beach Hotel. "All the guests left yesterday."

She said the only remaining guests were insurance adjusters who planned to ride out the storm.

The repeated hurricanes are disrupting tourism, which the government says accounts for more than half the jobs in this country of 300,000 people. Some hotels damaged by Francis remain closed.
Posted by:Sep 25th 2004, 06:18:24 pm
Fig Tree News TeamBack on line, and downloading pictures of the North Side, Briland and the Bridge! Wow, what a rage! We're out of it for the most part.

Kimberly Morgan, reporting from Gregory Town for the Fig Tree News Team, returning with pictures momentarily.
Posted by:Sep 25th 2004, 02:07:21 pm
chapel1:00p EST Saturday

STORM SURGE FLOODING OF 4 TO 8 FEET ABOVE NORMAL TIDE LEVELS...ALONG
WITH LARGE AND DANGEROUS BATTERING WAVES...ARE STILL OCCURING NEAR
THE CENTER OF JEANNE ON THE NORTH SIDE OF GRAND BAHAMA ISLAND AND
ON THE WEST SIDE OF THE ABACO ISLANDS. STORM SURGE FLOODING OF 2 TO
4 FEET ABOVE NORMAL TIDE LEVELS CAN BE EXPECTED ON THE WEST SIDE OF
THE OTHER ISLANDS OF THE BAHAMAS IN THE HURRICANE WARNING AREA.

COASTAL STORM SURGE FLOODING OF 4 TO 6 FEET ABOVE NORMAL TIDE
LEVELS...ALONG WITH LARGE AND DANGEROUS BATTERING WAVES...CAN BE
EXPECTED NEAR AND TO THE NORTH OF WHERE THE CENTER MAKES LANDFALL
ALONG THE FLORIDA EAST COAST. A STORM SURGE OF UP TO 7 FEET ABOVE
THE PRESENT WATER LEVEL IS LIKELY TO OCCUR MAINLY ON THE EAST SIDE
OF LAKE OKEECHOBEE.
Posted by:Sep 25th 2004, 01:38:08 pm
chapel4:50pm (UK)
Hundreds Take Refuge as Jeanne Hits Bahamas

"PA"
The Scotsman

Hurricane Jeanne lashed the Bahamas with violent winds and torrential rains today, making a direct hit on Abaco island and threatening the country’s second largest city of Freeport while hundreds of people took refuge in emergency shelters.

Jeanne’s fierce eye made a direct hit on north-western Abaco island today morning, said Jorge Aguirre, a meteorologist at the US National Hurricane Centre in Miami, Florida.

“It’s moving right over Abaco island,” he said. “They’re right at the core of the eye right now.”

Around 700 evacuees were riding out the storm at a school in the town of Marsh Harbour on Abaco island, where Jeanne was expected to make a direct hit and strengthen to a major hurricane before hitting Florida’s south east coast.

Three million people were told to evacuate their homes in Florida which is bracing for its fourth battering from a hurricane this year. No state has been struck by four hurricanes in one season since Texas in 1886.

Richard Fawkes, a 52-year-old Bahamian taking refuge at the Abaco island shelter, said: “The wind is howling. It’s really coming with intensity now.”

He said the metal shutters on the windows were rattling in the fierce gusts, and water was seeping inside.

Jeanne’s sustained winds increased to 105mph early today before it hit Abaco, which has a population of 20,000, and then was forecast to tear into Grand Bahama, where more than 70,000 live, many of them in Freeport.

Officials urged people to evacuate low-lying homes, and shelters were set up in schools and churches on the north-western islands of Abaco, Eleuthera and Grand Bahama.

Jeanne was upon the Bahamas three weeks after the low-lying island chain took a beating from Frances, which killed two people and damaged thousands of homes. It toppled rows of power lines, flattened homes and uprooted trees during a two-day lashing of Grand Bahama island.

Many homes still have roofs patched with plastic sheeting, and some homeless residents are still living with relatives or neighbours.

Jeanne was headed for the Bahamas following a devastating hit as a tropical storm last weekend on Haiti, where floods killed more than 1,100 and left more than 1,250 missing. The southern Bahamian islands were under a storm warning when Jeanne brushed past into the Atlantic, then made a loop and headed back west.

At 1pm UK time Jeanne was just over Marsh Harbour on Abaco island, and 190 miles east of Florida’s south east coast.

Forecasters at the US National Hurricane Centre said Jeanne was likely to strengthen to a major hurricane later today. The storm was forecast to stir up dangerous surf and rip currents, and dump up to 10 inches of rain.
Posted by:Sep 25th 2004, 01:28:24 pm
Fig Tree News TeamEarly reports from Abaco suggest that Jeanne held to a more northern path than expected, which limited the extent of the storm's damage to the Abaco chain ...

Hurricane Jeanne Slams Bahamas on Way to Florida

Noon - 25 September

By Michael Christie

MIAMI (Reuters) - Deadly Hurricane Jeanne strengthened rapidly as it crossed the northern Bahamas on Saturday on its way to deliver a record fourth hurricane strike in one season to densely populated Florida.


Reuters Photo


Canadian Press
Slideshow: Hurricanes & Tropical Storms

Nat'l Hurricane Center Jeanne Update
(AP Video)



Up to 3 million storm-weary Floridians were told to evacuate coastal islands, mobile homes and flood-prone areas. Others battened down the hatches one more time, stocking up on batteries, water and gasoline and shuttering homes, or streamed into public shelters.


Many on the storm-scarred Atlantic coast, emboldened by having survived Hurricane Frances three weeks ago, vowed to remain at home, an act of defiance that alarmed authorities.


As Jeanne's 115 mph winds, up from 105 mph overnight, and 8-foot storm surge lashed Great Abaco island in the Bahamas, a 700-island chain of 300,000 people stretching from Haiti to off the Florida coast, U.S. officials urged residents not to be complacent.


Gov. Jeb Bush said people living in Florida's coastal areas could not assume they could ride out Jeanne just because they had survived the previous hurricanes.


"People on the barrier islands who think they can ride this storm out should think again," Bush, brother of President Bush (news - web sites), told reporters. "It is getting bigger and stronger."


By 11 a.m., the storm, which has already killed up to 2,000 people in Haiti and 31 in the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico, was just west of Marsh Harbour, Great Abaco, at latitude 26.6 north and longitude 77.6 west, or 155 miles east of Florida.


Jeanne picked up speed overnight and was traveling westward at 14 mph.


The U.S. National Hurricane Center (news - web sites) warned the storm, now a strong Category 3 on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale of hurricane intensity, could strengthen further over warm water between the Bahamas and the southeastern United States.


Along Florida's Atlantic coast, including the densely populated counties of Broward and Miami-Dade, 3 million residents were told to evacuate.


MILLIONS IN HARM'S WAY


State officials said computer models showed 4.7 million of the state's 17 million people were in harm's way, and estimated that 1.2 million buildings could be damaged, leaving around 142,000 families without homes.


In some parts of the likely strike zone near Ft. Pierce in St. Lucie county, home owners have barely had time to patch over damaged roofs with blue tarpaulin, or to clear piles of tree limbs and debris left behind by Hurricane Frances, or the soggy remnants of Hurricane Ivan last week.


"It's horrible. This is just unprecedented," said St. Lucie county emergency management spokeswoman Linette Trabulsy.


When Jeanne comes ashore on Florida as expected late on Saturday or early Sunday, it will make history -- the first time since records began in 1851 that Florida has been walloped by four hurricanes in a single Atlantic storm season. The season lasts from June to the end of November.


Hurricane Charley kicked off a season likely to dent the state's reputation as a tourist destination when it slammed ashore on the southwest Gulf Coast on Aug. 13 as a Category 4 storm -- the second most powerful. It had winds of 145 mph, killed 33 people and caused $7.4 billion in insured damages.


Frances, a weaker but much larger storm with 105 mph winds, spread destruction along the Atlantic coast on Sept. 5, killing 30 and causing $4.4 billion in damages.


Ivan, at one point the sixth most powerful Atlantic hurricane ever recorded, ripped into the Gulf Coast between Florida and Alabama with 130 mph winds on Sept. 16, killing at least 45 people across the United States and causing up to $6 billion in damages.

"It's all part of living in Florida. You live in California, you deal with earthquakes. You live in Texas, you deal with drought and fire. You live in Kansas, you deal with tornadoes. I'd rather live somewhere it's warm," said Broward county emergency management spokeswoman Alinda Montfort.

In the Bahamas, residents of Grand Bahama and Great Abaco islands, both still recovering from the ravages of Frances, packed into shelters.

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)
Posted by:Sep 25th 2004, 01:28:20 pm
Fig Tree News TeamHURRICANE JEANNE INTERMEDIATE ADVISORY NUMBER 48A
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL
1 PM EDT SAT SEP 25 2004

...DANGEROUS HURRICANE JEANNE BATTERING THE NORTHWEST BAHAMAS WITH
FURY...

A HURRICANE WARNING IS IN EFFECT ALONG THE FLORIDA EAST COAST FROM
FLORIDA CITY NORTHWARD TO ST. AUGUSTINE...INCLUDING LAKE
OKEECHOBEE. A HURRICANE WARNING IS ALSO IN EFFECT FOR THE
NORTHWESTERN BAHAMAS...INCLUDING THE ABACOS...ANDROS ISLAND...BERRY
ISLANDS...BIMINI...ELEUTHERA...GRAND BAHAMA ISLAND...AND NEW
PROVIDENCE. PREPARATIONS TO PROTECT LIFE AND PROPERTY IN THE
HURRICANE WARNING AREA SHOULD BE RUSHED TO COMPLETION.

A TROPICAL STORM WARNING AND A HURRICANE WATCH REMAIN IN EFFECT FROM
NORTH OF ST. AUGUSTINE NORTHWARD TO ALTAMAHA SOUND GEORGIA.

A TROPICAL STORM WARNING IS IN EFFECT FOR THE WEST COAST OF FLORIDA
FROM EAST CAPE SABLE NORTHWARD TO THE SUWANEE RIVER. A HURRICANE
WATCH IS IN EFFECT FROM ENGLEWOOD TO THE SUWANEE RIVER.

A TROPICAL STORM WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FOR THE CENTRAL
BAHAMAS...INCLUDING CAT ISLAND...THE EXUMAS...LONG ISLAND...RUM
CAY...AND SAN SALVADOR.

A TROPICAL STORM WATCH REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM THE SUWANNE RIVER
NORTHWARD ALONG THE WEST COAST OF FLORIDA TO THE OCHLOCKONEE RIVER
AND FROM SOUTH OF FLORIDA CITY AROUND THE SOUTHERN END OF THE
FLORIDA PENINSULA TO JUST SOUTH OF EAST CAPE SABLE INCLUDING
FLORIDA BAY...AND THE FLORIDA KEYS NORTH OF THE SEVEN MILE BRIDGE.

AT 1 PM EDT...1700Z...THE EYE OF HURRICANE JEANNE WAS LOCATED
NEAR LATITUDE 26.8 NORTH...LONGITUDE 77.9 WEST ABOUT 35 MILES...50
KM...NORTHEAST OF FREEPORT GRAND BAHAMA ISLAND. THIS POSITION IS
ALSO ABOUT 135 MILES...215 KM...EAST OF THE SOUTHEASTERN COAST OF
FLORIDA.

JEANNE IS NOW MOVING A LITTLE NORTH OF DUE WEST NEAR 14 MPH...22
KM/HR. ON THIS TRACK...THE CORE OF JEANNE WILL CONTINUE NEAR OR
OVER THE REMAINDER OF THE NORTHWESTERN BAHAMAS TODAY...AND APPROACH
THE SOUTHEASTERN COAST OF FLORIDA TONIGHT OR EARLY SUNDAY.
HURRICANE FORCE WINDS ARE EXPECTED TO SPREAD INLAND ACROSS MUCH OF
THE FLORIDA PENINSULA.

JEANNE IS DANGEROUS CATEGORY THREE HURRICANE ON THE SAFFIR/SIMPSON
HURRICANE SCALE WITH MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS OF 115 MPH...185
KM/HR...WITH HIGHER GUSTS. SOME ADDITIONAL STRENGTHENING IS
POSSIBLE BEFORE LANDFALL IN FLORIDA. STRONGER WINDS...ESPECIALLY IN
GUSTS...ARE LIKELY TO OCCUR ON HIGH RISE BUILDINGS.

HURRICANE FORCE WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD UP TO 70 MILES...110 KM...
FROM THE CENTER...AND TROPICAL STORM FORCE WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD UP
TO 205 MILES...335 KM....MAINLY TO THE NORTH OF THE CENTER.
Posted by:Sep 25th 2004, 12:21:38 pm
Ben KHi all,

Had a quick look outside just now and there is far less damage than after Frances. There are just a few small branches blown down here and there, and palm leaves dotted around on the ground.

The beach doesn't appear to have been eroded any more.

Overnight, the winds were certainly much weaker than Frances, and came initially from the Northwest, and then moved around to roughly Southwest. The power stayed on pretty much all night, until about 5 or 6am (it's still off at the moment - 9:20am).

I haven't been into town yet. Things are calming down now, with periods of rain squalls and wind gusts.

The phones seem to be working ok for incoming and outgoing calls.

Regards,
Ben

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