The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida on September 20, 1989 · Page 10
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The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida · Page 10

West Palm Beach, Florida
Issue Date:
Wednesday, September 20, 1989
Page 10
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10 A THE PALM BEACH POST WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 20, 1989 c The Path Of Hurricane Hugo Hugo In Brief NASA may move space shuttle inside Palm Beach Post Staff Reports NASA will decide today whether to move the space shuttle Atlantis to safety, but an unmanned AtlasCentaur rocket will be left to its fate on the launch pad if Hurricane Hugo hits, NASA officials said. Atlantis could ride out tropical-storm force winds on the launch pad, NASA spokesman George Diller said. But if it looks like hurricane-strength winds will hit, NASA would have to move the shuttle to the vehicle assembly building. It would take about 16 hours to secure the shuttle and then six to eight hours for the 1 mph ride to the VAB, Diller said. NASA can't wait too long. Once winds get over 46 mph, the space agency would be unable to move Atlantis and would have to let it ride out the storm on the pad and hope it escapes damage, Diller said. Moving the shuttle would likely mean a delay in the scheduled Oct. 12 launch of Atlantis and its Jupiter-bound payload, Galileo. The AtlasCentaur, which had been scheduled to launch a Navy communications satellite Friday, can stand winds up to 115 mph, Diller said. Building debris dangerous - Debris from razed buildings in West Palm Beach's DowntownUptown Project could become dangerous projectiles under the force of strong winds, health and emergency officials said Tuesday. The developers have hauled more than 83,000 cubic yards of old building materials to a temporary dump west of the city, but about 100,000 cubic yards remain piled downtown, said Gene Sacco, environmental administrator for the Palm Beach County Public Health Unit. "The danger has been substantially reduced, but there is still a danger there," said B.T. Kennedy, emergency management director for the county. '. Because the project will replace old, substandard buildings with new ones built to modern construction codes, it ultimately will be good for the city's ability to withstand hurricanes, Kennedy said. - Construction sites of all types need to be secured as a storm approaches, emergency managers said. County inspectors began posting yellow-and-red "Secure Your Site" notices at building projects after a meeting of emergency management personnel Tuesday. Tourists recheck getaways " WEST PALM BEACH - Palm Beach County's tourism industry is keeping an eye on Hurricane Hugo's travels while fielding questions from some curious customers. The Grace Travel Agency in North Palm Beach had three cancellations this week from people who had planned to go to San Juan. Also, fhip aodnnv hac haH ahnut 9rt allc frnm nanrtla pondering their getaway, travel agent Helen Hennessey said. "They are more concerned about getting out of Florida than they are worried about where they are going," she said. As for Hugo's distant presence, "I can't say it hurts business. It's more or less part of the job," Hennessey said. From the Port of Palm Beach, the Crown Del Mar continues its run to Mexico, and the Viking Princess' daily sail to Freeport hasn't been canceled either, Crown Cruise Line officials said. "It appears the storm won't influence our sa'iling," marketing director John Dvornik said. ' ' If conditions change and the ships head for sea to avoid storm damage, then the company will notify its passengers awaiting trips, he said. FPL ready for shutdown Florida Power & Light Co. said it is ready to order a "hot shutdown" of its two nuclear plants if Hurricane Hugo gets too close. A spokesman said an emergency shutdown would occur about 24 hours ahead of any projected landing by Hugo within about 100 miles of FPL's Turkey Point plant near Miami or its St. Lucie plant near Port St. Lucie. - The danger: The storm could affect the flow of cooling water to the reactors or otherwise disrupt normal operations, the spokesman said. The plants are built on comparatively high ground to survive flooding. St. Lucie is 19.5 feet above sea level on Hutchinson Island, and Turkey Point is 23 feet above sea level in Dade County. , FPL said it is ready to mobilize repair crews arid phone banks if Hugo hits. The number to report downed power lines in Palm Beach and Martin counties is 697-8000. Additional insurance sought Hurricane Hugo already has flooded the offices of South Florida insurance agents with telephone calls for new and increased coverage. Agents said they were besieged Tuesday by homeowners seeking flood insurance and bigger policies to increase the replacement value on their homes. Others just wanted new policies altogether. ., But callers were not always hearing what they wanted. New flood insurance policies do not become effective until five days after an application is filed too late to compensate any damage caused by Hugo. However, some agents said they were adjusting policies and will even write new ones up until hurricane watches and warnings take affect. Cindy Corti, with State Farm Insurance in Port Salerno, said Hugo had prompted many renters to buy insurance for the first time. - If the storm hits, insurance companies have catastrophe teams ready to move into hard-hit areas. ' Many companies will have mobile equipment to help locate clients and also help clients locate them. Allstate Insurance is prepared to set up a toll-free number with 40 lines and has a force of retirees ready to serve as claims adjusters. A mobile computer system is on call and Allstate has gathered cellular phones to use in case Southern Bell's system goes down. A spokesman said a claims adjuster will be put in every agent's office in the area affected by the hurricane. f J S. Florida gets ready for storm HUGOfrom 1A Forecasters said a high-pressure system across the mid-Atlantic states was preventing Hugo from heading north into the Atlantic Ocean Tuesday, while a low-pressure trough was drawing the storm westward. Meanwhile, forecasters said Tropical Storm Iris, at longitude 61.1 degrees west and latitude 21.6 degrees north, 2,000 miles southeast of Palm Beach, could become a hurricane overnight. Although Iris also was moving northwest, forecasters said Hugo was forcing it to follow a more southern route. They were not ready to say whether it could threaten South Florida. Storms on tracks similar to Hugo's "have done everything," National Hurricane Center Director Bob Sheets said Tuesday from Coral Gables. "They've done loopity-loops, they've gone into South Florida, they've gone into Central Florida, all the way up to the Carolinas." "If we were going to be hit, I'd much rather it come straight at us," said Palm Beach County Emergency Management Director B.T. Kennedy. If Hugo were to veer west unexpectedly from a northward track off the Florida coast, winds of more than 40 mph could strike the area within hours. Emergency managers would find themselves in the middle of a storm, attempting in a few hours an evacuation they normally would take up to a day to complete, Kennedy said. 'Do not get complacent' "Do not get complacent," Deputy County Administrator Vincent Bonvento told a meeting Tuesday of county officials who would oversee hurricane management. "This storm could turn at any time." Emergency managers scheduled no further gatherings but could call another meeting tonight if conditions warrant, Kennedy said. If an evacuation order is issued, it would be enforced only for residents of mobile homes, officials said. "All we can do is say, 'Give us the next of kin,' ': said operations coordinator Manny Dapandreas 'We're ready to go' Palm Beach County's 49 Red Cross shelters have been prepared since the beginning of hurricane season and could be stocked and ready for evacuees on short, notice, said Lucy Keely, director of emergency services. "All we have to do is call our people in," she said . "We're ready to go." Stores in Palm Beach County reported runs on bottled water and other provisions and supplies to shore up homes Tuesday. Meanwhile, anxious boat; owners across the Palm Beaches and the Treasure Coast began moving their vessels upriver or to safer harbors. Airline officials plan to meet today to discuss whether to cancel any flights to or from Palm Beach International Airport. Crown Cruise Lines had no plans Tuesday to cancel cruises from the Port of Palm Beach to Freeport in the Bahamas. In Tallahassee Tuesday, Gov. Bob Martinez toured the state's emergency management center and said a decision to activate the state's hurricane command post probably would not be made until Thursday unless the storm made a dramatic and threatening shift toward Florida. About 1,000 people arrived in West Palm Beach Monday and Tuesday after being airlifted from the U.S. Navy AUTEC base on Andros Island in the Bahamas, where a hurricane watch was in effect late Tuesday. In Nassau, residents boarded buildings and put away provisions but continued with the business of tending to tourists. 'I survived Hugo' T-shirt With five cruise ships anchored in Nassau harbor, suntanned visitors strolled past the T-shirt shops and boutiques lining the waterfront while Hugo remained 560 miles offshore, moving along the eastern edge of the archipelago. "It's a huge ship. I'm not worried," said Michael McElfresh of Leesburg. "Now I just need to find a 'I survived Hugo' shirt." Residents who will remain when McElfresh and other passengers leave tonight said they believe there will be no need for souvenir hurricane T-shirts. "I think it'll brush us but leave us alone otherwise," said Eric Hepburn as he directed workers placing metal screens on the library building at the College of The Bahamas. "But my boss said we'd better not take any chances." While college administrators canceled classes Tuesday afternoon, government officials waited for Hugo to make its next move before taking further action. . - V " - -j r-- I i I ' ,f"' . : y s " , j . ''' -; - w " . 1 v i . v- m ' .... s . ..- M " w t -I k f V 1 f ' . ' air- "" S 'hi I )X V 'f I i ff t-. 3t fe n, i v'-i I- GREG LOVETTStaff Photograplie'r The storm stacked yachts on top of each other in Puerto Rico's Bay of Culebra. DOMINICAN REPUBLIC V PUERTOi W:-!CH01? ' M i RICO i us 'a A : : virgin 'i'ssis-.-, Where Hugo has been 70 BAHAMAS , (g 68 66 64 62 60 Sept. 19 Noon Wind speed 105 mph Sept. 18 3 a.m. Wind speed 140 mph -22' Sept. 17 Noon Wind speed 150 mph 20' 18' 16' Caribbean-Sea Sept. 16 6 a.m. Wind speed 140 mph O BARBUDA : o ANTIGUA : (. OsMONTSERRAT iK . : V DOMINICA MARTINIOUEVV ST.LUCIA-Q- t 14 PUERTO RICO: Twelve deaths and hundreds of millions of dollars in damage reported. At least 50,000 homes destroyed or damaged. GUADELOUPE: Five people reported killed, 84 injured and more than 15,000 homeless. ANTIGUA: Two people killed, and widespread wind and rain damage reported. MONTSERRAT: Six people killed, and hundreds of buildings flattened on the British island. Nearly all of the 12,000 island residents homeless. ' U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS: St. Croix and St. Thomas hit hard. Widespread looting reported, including raids by machete-wielding gangs. BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS: Trees uprooted and power and communications knocked out. "We're taking precautions and have evacuation plans in place," said Neville Woodside, chief meteorologist for the Nassau Meteorology Office. "The storm has been moving slightly east, but we're not out of the woods yet." Weather officials extended their tropical storm warning for the southern islands Tuesday evening and issued a hurricane watch for the central and northwest islands, including the capital city of Nassau, on the. island of New Providence. Meteorologists have become the latest media pen sonalities in the Bahamas, warning residents to bgr . ware of Hugo's bad nature on around-the-clock news! casts. Despite the destruction on Puerto Rico and other . islands, Bahamians were not rushing to batten the hatches Tuesday. : . I' Few stores along the main tourist strip were shuttered. Lines were longer at the downtown City . Market, as people stocked up on bottled water and batteries. But merchants said there had been; no frantic rush. Tourists seemed to share their hosts' hope. 'Getting out while the getting is good' '. "It's amazing that we've had so few calls about the hurricane hitting here," said Mary Reeber, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Embassy in Nassau. "And the ones that do call are concerned about Puerto Rico." A few tourists in line at Nassau International-Airport said they were "getting out while the getting is good," while others said they were leaving because their vacation was over. , While reporters may have outnumbered tourists on -arriving flights, the hurricane did not stop a convention of New Jersey police officers. . . ! "They keep coming," said an airport worker who spent the day escorting the cops through immigration., The American Red Cross organized its biggest' domestic relief effort in four years Tuesday as reports of the devastation to the northern Caribbean arrived. The U.S. Coast Guard began sending C-130 trans-! port planes from Florida and other sites headed to Puerto Rico with emergency supplies, while two Coast Guard cutters assisted with communications and re-., lief efforts. Staff writers Scott G.Campbell, John Fernandez and Charles Holmes and The Associated Press contributed to this report. Puerto Ricans: 4We lost everything' By ANNE-MARIE O'CONNOR Palm Beach Post Staff Writer SAN ISIDRO, Puerto Rico - The Flores family huddled on their flooded dining-room floor during powerful Hurricane Hugo, listening in fear as the 140 mph winds ripped the roof off their house. By the time the wind died down Monday afternoon, the top story of their house had been torn away. "Thank God we slept downstairs. Since I don't weigh much, the hurricane would have carried me right off," said skinny 10-year-old Gabriel Flores. "Everything is ruined," said his mother, Isabel, as she sifted through scattered furniture and clothes. "Thank God I still have my children," she added, reaching out to hug her daughter, Crician, a 13-year old with long black braids. The view from the second story was a picture of the legacy of destruction left by Hurricane Hugo in the coastal towns it ripped through. For miles around, homes in the largely working-class town near San Juan were roofless or severely damaged. Only one wall of the neighborhood Protestant church was left standing. "It's a mess," said the Rev. Angel Ortiz, who is helping the Flores family salvage what's left of its belongings. "But we're all still alive. That's the important thing." Some San Isidro residents used boats to reach relatives who had been stranded in theftr homes by flooding. Sections of sheet metal roofing were scattered throughout the neighborhood, with a jumbled mixture of toys, pots and pans and furniture. People tried to gather up their possessions quickly because thieves were roaming the neighborhoods. Luciano Rosario and a neighbor waded into Rosa-rio's flooded yard with a rope to try to retrieve a piece of his roof. "We lost everything! Everything!" said Rosario's wife, Auria Feliciana, as tears ran down her face. A half-submerged car was the only trace of one home that had vanished during the storm. "My friend drove right by his house today when he went home," said Gil Flores, 21. "He didn't even notice at first that it was completely gone." Angel Gabriel, an unemployed mechanic, ran to a neighbor's house during the hurricane when hip-deep water began flowing thorugh his home. When he came back the next day, a flooded stream was rolling over the spot where his house had been, and all that was left of his few possessions were some of his clothes sticking to a tree. Like many San Isidro residents, Gabriel did not take the hurricane warning seriously enough to go to a shelter. "My house has held up during many storms," he said. "I just didn't think this would happen." , ,mm , - i ' - ' . , . :i i 4 Y Si ..-,. ; y , -..' ')' : '. yy) - 6l l i WILLIAM EtERRYAtlanta Journal-Constitution Skinny Gabriel Flores, 10, said Hugo could have carried him off if he hadn't been downstairs. "

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