The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida on September 14, 1999 · Page 10
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September 14, 1999

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The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida · Page 10

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West Palm Beach, Florida
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Tuesday, September 14, 1999
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Page 10
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12A THE PALM BEACH POST TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 14, 1999 Stress intensifies along with the storm The magnitude of it - have you seen the size of it? - the magnitude is immense. That concerns me. ' JOE DEIHL Mortgage broker By George Bennett Palm Beach Post Staff Writer There was still some fancy water in tiny bottles, but the 1-gallon containers of the regular stuff were temporarily gone from the shelves at a Boynton Beach Publix and the customers were circling warily Monday afternoon. This was merely Category 1 anxiety, not gale-force panic. Still, the threat of Hurricane Floyd churning a few hundred miles east in the Atlantic created noticeable tension in the crowded aisles at supermarkets and home supply stores and the longer-than-usual lines at gas stations and automatic teller machines. At the empty water shelves of the Boynton Beach Publix, a woman in office clothes crouched to see if any plastic jugs were hiding in the back of the lowest shelf. A man sought advice on his cell phone. A retired couple reluctantly decided to stock up on the smaller, higher-priced bottles. Joann Wagner walked away briskly. "I've been to 10 stores and, I'm not exaggerating, there is no water," Wagner said. "Nobody's really crabby. Not yet What are you going to do?" asjed Kevin Bacon of Boynton Beach. There were a few flashpoints, however. Jockeying for position in lines at the East Ocean Citgo in Stuart sparked fights among customers, said a station employee, who addfed, "People are really stressed." At a Publix in Delray Beach, pojjce responded to an argument ovr, a parking space that escalated into a hair-pulling, face-scratching tussle between two women near the cantaloupe display. Police said Angelica Reyes, 20,' of Delray Beach received a notice1 to appear in court on simple battery charges. Jessica Gibbs, 34, was treated at the scene by paramedics,- but she was too worried about hurricane preparedness to dwell on her injuries. When a paramedic suggested she see a doctor, Gibbs looked at 'her watch, sighed, and said, Tve,!got shopping to do." Staff writers Shannon Colavecchio, Matt Mossman and Sally Swartz contributed to this story. the Home Depot in Lake Worth. At the Home Depot west of Lan-tana, nursing home executive Arnie Cowan sweated through his dress shirt as he tried to wedge five sheets of plywood into the back of his Toyota Celica convertible. After tracking Floyd's progress on The Weather Channel and the Internet for the past week, Cowan said he's worried. "Bottom line: If s going to be a hell of a storm," said Cowan, who planned to spend tonight at his Chancellor Park senior facility along with about 30 employees. People waited more than three hours for plywood at the Lantana Home Depot A line of customers snaked out of the store and around the front of a strip shopping center for several hundred feet in the afternoon sun. Crankiness was remarkably low. For Wagner and many other South Floridians, Hurricane Floyd was bringing a level of concern not seen since Hurricane Andrew seven years ago. "If it's a category 2, 1 usually don't worry about it But a 4, maybe a 5?" said Carol Nefzger of Lake Worth, who took the day off from her massage therapist's job to board up her house. "I'm really concerned because of the hype on the TV," said suburban Boynton Beach retiree Lucille Rapkin as she bought 3 gallons of water at a Winn-Dixie. This has got me frightened." "The magnitude of it have you seen the size of it? the magnitude is immense. That concerns me," said Joe Deihl, a mortgage broker who took off from work to buy plywood at Insurers preparing their disaster teams Palm Beach Post Staff Reports j , m It's too late to get insurance coverage for your home, auto or boat Insurance compa- ' nies, including the state-run residential Joint Underwriting Association, will not issue cover- .1 ,age once hurricane watches are issued, j Insurers spent the day putting together their disaster teams to help people with damaged property. State Insurance Commissioner Bill Nelson said the state is financially prepared to weather a major hurricane. ; "From an insurance standpoint, we are as -..prepared as any state can be for a Category 4 or Category 5 storm," Nelson said at a Miami news conference. Hurricane Andrew, which leveled parts of South Florida in 1992 and caused more than $26.5 billion in damage, was a Category 4 storm the same as Hurricane Floyd. About k $16 billion of that was covered by insurers. f : In its aftermath, legislators created the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund. Known 'more informally as the Cat Fund, it sells reinsurance to Florida insurers. Homeowners pay a premium on their regular insurance bills, which is funneled to the fund. 11 The Cat Fund has $3 billion in cash and an '"additional bonding capacity of $8 billion, which can be used to offset residential losses, Nelson said. m ' " """ wnk Ft ' TORNADO " : i in V' Hqw to reach your insurance company ! Jjiese are the emergency claims numbers for the largest insurers irt the state as gathered and tested by the Florida Department of Insurance. iii.' n;M State Farm Fire & Casualty Co. ' " ' (800 J 732-5246; 1800) SF-CLAIM Allstate Floridian Insurance Co. t - (800) 547-8676; (800) 54-STORM .i'iFlorida Residential Property Joint Underwriting Association . (800)636-8511 Nationwide Mutual Fire Ins. Co. (800) 421-3535 DAVID LANEStaff Photographer Horse sense in a storm: ' m Animal plan gets a test 4 . By Angle Francalancia Palm Beach Post Staff Writer Horse owners were scrambling Monday to protect their very large animals from y(ery large Hurricane Floyd, giving Jhe Palm Beach County Horse ' Industry Council's hurricane plan its first real test The council put together1 an emergency plan after watching horses get separated from owners in Hurricane Andrew, offen with fatal results. Owners should prepare'for their horses getting loose. Horses could spook, fleeing barns,' or knocked down fencing. "I've had maybe 150 phBne calls from people looking foflD bands today. But today is.'jtoo late," said Joan Krogmann, a;di-rector with the council. "There are other things you can do to"ID a horse, though." Owners can use body clippers and clip their phone numbers into the horse's hair. Or they -Tan spray paint their phone numbers on the animals. Also, a luggage tag braided or tied into "the horse's tail will provide identification, Krogmann said. Some owners will choose to leave their horses in pastures rather than barns that couldj be damaged. . A "I recommend using a face mask with ear covers to protect against flying debris and a light sheet to protect the body," Krogmann said, i! Those owners who rely on well water need to pump all tijey can in advance because wlls don't work without electricity. Krogmann was preparing to fill at least three gallon jugs with water for each of her 11 horses, and store hay in plastic bags.,'.' For owners who need to move their horses, it should be donft as early as possible. The South Florida Trotting Center has concrete barns available where horses could stay a couple of days. Owners must sign a waiver of responsibility, "and should call 272-5667 in advarice. Settling in for a long night JENSEN BEACH - Anne Morris of Sewall's Point ar- Jensen Beach Elementary School. Morris said she ranges her space Monday at a Red Cross shelter at and her husband were ordered to evacuate. G fli H Clarendon Select Ins. Co. Groceries, building supply stores extend hours for Floyd customers (800)797-2526 USAA (800) 531-8222 Clarendon National Ins. Co. (Tower Hill Ins proup Omega, Clarendon Select, Xlarendon National, Harbor Specialty) (800) 216-3711 or (800) 509-1592 m Florida Select Ins. Co. (888) 700-0101 Bankers Security Ins. Co. (800) 725-9472 Southern Family Ins. Co. (800) 673-4952 First Floridian Auto & Home Ins. Co. . r,r auto, home: (800) 252-4633; Liberty Mutual Fire Ins. Co. (800) 637-0757, (800) 633-1833 (24 hr.) Hartford Ins. Co. of the Midwest ti I (800) 637-5410 or (800) 243-5860 ; Prudential Property & Casualty Ins. Co. (800) 437-3535 Florida Family Mutual Ins. Co. (888)486-4663 Harbor Specialty Ins. Co. (800) 797-2526 We're just going to stay as flexible as we can for the foreseeable future. As long as we have customers in the stores, well be open.' DON HARRISON Home Depot spokesman ' Florida Farm Bureau General Ins. Co. !" ' (800) 330-3327 (800) 531-8222 (800)216-3711? lm,jonn asucmy ins. v,u. Omega Ins. Co. By Paul Owers Palm Beach Post Staff Writer Local grocery and building-supply stores are giving you every chance to prepare for Hurricane Floyd. Publix Super Markets and Winn-Dixie announced extended hours for all stores in Palm Beach, Martin and St. Lucie counties, while Lowe's Cos. said its two local stores in Jensen Beach and Fort Pierce will stay open around the clock until further notice. "We're going to stay open for 24 hours until the community no longer needs us to do that" said Scott St Clair, manager of the Lowe's in Jensen Beach. The local Publix stores remained open until midnight Monday two hours later than normal and some will open an hour earlier at 6 a.m. today. Officials with the Lakeland-based chain have not determined how late the stores will stay open today. "There's no way for us to know that right now," said Richard Miller, manager of the Oakbrook Square Publix at U.S. 1 and PGA Boulevard in Palm Beach Gardens. "We're on a barrier island, and when the police tell us to leave, we're gone." Winn-Dixie said its 24-hour stores will remain open as usual, weather permitting. TJie Winn-Dixies not open 24 hours will open an hour earlier today at 6 a.m. Local Albertson's stores will keep regular business hours, opening at 6 a.m. increases on such items as food, water, hotels, ice, lumber and equipment necessary for use as a direct result of an officially declared emergency. Several banks said they'll close offices to give employees time to prepare for the storm. Washington Mutual, Fidelity Federal Savings Bank and SunTrust said they would close their offices today. Community Savings of North Palm Beach will remain open a few hours today, President Jim Pittard said. He said he didn't expect an early closing to affect check clearing or deposits. On the Treasure Coast Harbor Federal Savings Bank, Riverside Bank and First National Bank all will be closed today and Wednesday. Local gas stations, ATMs and pharmacies were flooded Monday by people preparing to ride out Floyd. "Ifs almost like a Home Depot scene," said Dennis Bedley, president of Colonial Bank's five offices in Palm Beach County. The Mobil station at Interstate 95 and State Road 76 in Stuart and the Mobil station on U.S. 1 in Port Salerno still had gas late Monday. Hotels on the mainland were jammed as Hutchinson Island and area mobile home parks were evacuated late Monday. Staff writers JeffOstrowski and Sally Swartz contributed to this story. American General Property Ins. Co. of Fla. ! I (800) 321-2452 l Florida Windstorm Underwriting Association (800)493-9463 Tell Us h What You See 2 The Home Depot also did not formally announce extended hours for its stores in Palm Beach County and the Treasure Coast but they will remain open past their normal 9 p.m. closing as demand dictates, spokesman Don Harrison said. "We're just going to stay as flexible as we can for the foreseeable future," Harrison said. "As long as we have customers in the stores, well be open." Hurricane supplies particularly lumber and bottled water were dwindling Monday afternoon, although reinforcements were arriving throughout the day. Meanwhile, police in several cities stood outside home improvement stores to ensure there were no disturbances as customers stocked up on lumber and other supplies. Also Monday, Attorney General Bob Butterworth activated a toll-free hot line for consumers to report suspected price gouging of Hurricane Floyd. The number is (800) 329-6969. Florida law prohibits extreme price To report . " JI tVJ LCI I UO f4 how Hurricane Floyd is affecting your neighborhood ,n before and after it passes log on to w Storrm99 and join ,;, the discussion. Tri-Rail, airport in Martin County closed down Bahamas residents brace for storm's fury 77k Associated Press ' NASSAU, Bahamas Panicked Bahamas residents abandoned beachfront homes and scrambled for emergency supplies Monday as mammoth Hurricane Floyd's 155 mph winds bore down on the vulnerable, low-lying archi-iipelago. y;;!, Heavy winds and rain pelted the Bahamian -j capital of Nassau late Monday, even with the storm's center still 200 miles away. It was r -moving on a path that could deliver Florida its .ciardest storm strike in years by Wednesday. ,The strong winds rocked moving cars and kicked up sand and surf that delighted some die-hards still frolicking in the waves. j nave never been this scared about a storm," said shopkeeper Angel Chea as she hastily boarded up her windows. kI i! Floyd was on the verge of becoming a Category 5 storm the most powerful designation for a hurricane which features top sus- , tained winds of at least 156 mph. h r.r, "It's capable of almost catastrophic de-!i;iBtruction," said Todd Kimberlain, a forecaster irM the U.S. National Hurricane Center. y Floyd was joined Monday by Hurricane -it Gert, which grew from a tropical storm to a -f hurricane with winds near 85 mph about 1,210 i piiles east of the Leeward Islands. fic, said Florida DOT spokesman Gene O'Dell. Local emergency officials could close bridges to vehicular traffic before that As evacuation got under way Monday in Martin County, traffic became congested, but there was no gridlock, according to emergency planner Melvin Baxley. "We're opening shelters, so we're getting more people off the road," he said. "1-95 is still flowing freely, but the turnpike is becoming congested. By 9 a.m., we hope to have most vehicles off Martin County roads." Traffic on Kanner Highway, U.S. 1 turnpike, Sawgrass Expressway and Alligator Alley was suspended at 5 p.m. Monday. Tri-Rail between Mangonia Park and Miami will not run today. Passengers can call (800) 874-7245 to check when service will resume. No southbound Amtrak trains will be running today and CSX, which owns the rail lines, and Amtrak officials will confer early today to decide when to suspend northbound service. When sustained winds reach 40 mph, drawbridges were to be locked in the down position, allowing car traffic but preventing some boat traf and 1-95 in Martin County were moving at a fairly normal pace late Monday afternoon, and turnpike tolls were still being enforced. Baxley said he expected bridges to be closed today as winds strengthen by 9 a.m. ;u' Witham Field, Martin County's only airport, is closed. No St Lucie County roads or bridges were closed as of late Monday, but that could change, said SdHya Smith, spokeswoman for the St. Lucie County Emergency Operations Center. B T Staff writers Dani Davies and Lhdy Hereford contributed to this story. . . EVACUEES From 1A night Until the evacuation of barrier islands was ordered late Monday afternoon, roads in Palm Beach, Martin and St. Lucie counties carried only the normal workday traffic, Florida Highway Patrol Lt Pembrook Burrows said. Florida Department of Transportation workers began removing barricades along Interstate 95 and Florida's Turnpike to help ease the flow of traffic. The collection of tolls on the t - - V

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