The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida on September 15, 1999 · Page 78
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September 15, 1999

A Publisher Extra Newspaper

The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida · Page 78

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West Palm Beach, Florida
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Wednesday, September 15, 1999
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Page 78
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RRICAIUE FLOYD: Nine pages of coverage, starting on 6A r eacii irost IHlilS! WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 15, 1999 4 50 PAGES 35 CENTS n 1 1T1) "aim jd Storm heads straight for South Carolina Wall of low pressure deflects massive cyclone rift " SSL . -.r'' '-'v' Settlement on Port Salerno Road TRACKING Latitude: JllS-SS-IZ Longitude: As oMrp.rnjjruesdav n NORTH in 3:-- DAVID LANEStaff Photographer VIM- after water flooded the St. Lucie And it left us asking how the weather forecasters were able to make a call so on the money it would make a bookie proud. They kept on telling us Floyd would flinch. But as we watched and waited . . . and waited . . . and waited, we were the ones doing all the flinching. Floyd kept us on the edge of our seats, glued to the TV while our innards roiled as furiously as its feeder bands. If it was going to turn, we wanted it to get on with it. , Finally, many wondered whether the meteorologists Please see CLOSE CALL, 9A Monster Hurricane's fiercest winds and heaviest rains are kept offshore. By Jim Reeder and Dani Davies Palm Beach Post Staff Writers Hurricane Floyd forced South Florida to go through a full-scale disaster drill and then let the whole region off with a wet slap Tuesday as it headed up the coast toward the Carolinas. After flooding towns, toppling trees and power lines and ripping off roofs in the Bahamas, the 600-mile-wide tropical cyclone finally hit a wall of low pressure that was Florida's only defense against Floyd's 140-mph winds. The invisible wall held, deflecting the monster storm just enough to keep its hurricane-force winds and heaviest rain bands offshore. The gods have smiled on us," said Olivia McLean, emergency manager for the South Florida Water Management District. Hurricane warnings were cut to tropical storm warnings as Floyd crawled northward, starting in Miami-Dade and Broward counties Tuesday afternoon. By 11 p.m., all warnings on the southeast coast of Florida were discontinued south of Fort Pierce. A hurricane warning was extended northward from Fort Pierce to the North Carolina-Virginia border. A hurricane watch was issued further north to Chincoteague, Va. A high surf advisory was in effect as far north as New York's Long Island. By 11 p.m., the eye of Hurricane Floyd .was centered 170 miles southeast of Cape Canaveral, or 27.7 north latitude, 77.9 west longitude, moving northwest at 13 mph. A gradual turn north, with some increase in forward speed, was likely today. Its winds had eased from Monday's 155 mph, but it was still a Category 4 storm, the second most powerful hurricane designation. Hurricane winds of 74 mph or more extended 125 miles from Floyd's eye and tropical storm-force winds of 39 mph or more extended outward to 250 miles. Forecasters said its strength would fluctuate as it moved north, passing about 50 miles off Dayto-na Beach. They predicted the center would be off Flagler Beach around 2 p.m. today, off Jacksonville by 5 p.m. and off Brunswick, Ga., early tonight. Palm Beach, Martin and St. Lucie counties still had to brace for possible tropical storm-force winds after the eye moved past as the powerful storm pulled feeder bands of wind and rain into it. St. Lucie County officials were noticeably relieved after the 5 p.m. report from the National Hurricane Center indicated that the area probably wouldn't get hurricane-force winds. Earlier reports had forecast winds approaching 120 mph for the Fort Pierce area. "That would have been the worst storm to hit this area since the 1950s," St. Lucie County sheriffs spokesman Mark Weinberg said. County Administrator Doug Anderson imposed a curfew from 7 p.m. Tuesday until noon today, Please see FLOYD, 8A by to check on neighbors Tuesday Plane, computers helped predict turn i 1 1 .CAROLINA ': - , Jeff and Caren Endriss (right) stop Schools closed again today Schools are closed again in Palm Beach, Martin and St. Lucie counties. Airports reopen Palm Beach and Miami International airports are expected to reopen today. Garbage pickup, closings, 13A To our readers Because of the storm, B You may receive today's paper later than usual. B You will find local news at the back of the Business section on Page 8B. B Customer service will open later than usual at 8:30 a.m. More inside fl No panic: Local TV stations show great restraint in their coverage. 6A B Panic gorging: What to munch on to stay fat and happy. 7A B Cerabino: The hurricane box score. 7A B Another one coming: The latest on Gert. 8A B It was a howl: How the animals fared. 10A For the most recent radar and satellite images, stories, photo galleries and coordinates, log on to Storm99.com Copyright 1999 Palm Beach Post Vol 91 No. 153 4 sections i"28CKr 10000' i 1 1 I i i jfc: Jiff ' & - " i Stuart. 27.7'N Direction: NW at 13 mph 77.9TV Wind speed: 140 mph 3 a.m. Thursday Atlantic Ocean p.m. today Projected position of Hurricane Floyd 8 a.m. today Tuesday 1 11 p.rh- r - i iti I CAROLINA 'tSJVrJ : GEORGIA Charleston A I Savannah' h J P. I ' r-J jacKsonvijie .,vi 1 L-l I ILVII I LVIMLTI V Orlando Gulfof Mexico ,vesi raiin i Beacn Miami m ' BAHAMAS o '8 1 By Eliot Weinberg Palm Beach Post Staff Writer All that stood between Palm Beach County and Floyd's knockout punch was what a former National Hurricane Center director liked to call a "meteorological gnat's eyelash." The margin between a catastrophic once-in-a-century monster hurricane and the wimpy winds we actually got was that thin. It came down to about 50 miles and just a few hours. Still, our skin-of-the-teeth escape was causing residents of Georgia and the Carolinas to grind theirs. . Grilled cheese and popsicles help pass the time By Teresa Lane and Howie Paul Hartnett Palm Beach Post Staff Writers As Hurricane Floyd began to steer away from the Treasure Coast about 6 p.m. Tuesday, dozens of residents who had camped out in Red Cross shelters across St. Lucie County began to pack up their coolers and air mattresses and head for home, against the advice of emergency management officials. "We wouldn't leave our house for tropical storm-force winds, and it looks like that's all we're going to get now," said Johanne Lamp-ley, who left Morningside Elementary School's shelter with her husband and two children about 6:30 p.m. "We're glad to be going home because it was going to be an uncomfortable night in the shelter." Most of the 360 Morningside evacuees remained glued to television sets or radios Tuesday, hoping to learn what fate was in store for their homes. When forecasters began showing Floyd's more northerly trek, explaining that St. Lucie County likely would escape hurricane-force winds, about two dozen people headed out the door, prompting school principal Kerry Eshleman to make an announcement on the loudspeaker. "It is not recommended by the Emergency Operations Center that we assume we are safe out of the woods," Eshleman said. "There a 7 p.m. driving curfew, and if it takes an unexpected turn we could be in worse condition." In Martin County, most of the 450 evacuees at Jensen Beach Elementary School remained in high spirits throughoutTuesday. In the most pressing problem faced by most boredom. "We're just getting tired of being here, but Please see SHELTER, 12A f CUBA- Hospital shootings A gunman, upset about the death of his mother, kills three hospital employees in Anaheim, Calif. T STORY, 3A and is still fact, was Waco fallout A Justice Department official warned Janet Reno in a letter about improprieties in the siege on Waco. STORY, 3A Hispanic boom A census report shows the Hispanic population in Palm Beach County has risen 66 percent since 1990. STORY, 8B ANN & ABBY 2D BUSINESS IB CLASSIFIEDS 8C COMICS 6D DEATHS 7B EDITORIALS 18A HOROSCOPE 2D CROSSWOS LOTTERY PEOPLE SCORES STOCKS THEATERS TV LISTINGS WEATHER 2A 2A 6C 3B 4D 50 1GC SECTIONS C,D Travelers beware American travelers to foreign countries in December and January may face Y2K problems. STORY, 2A

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