Page 19 article text (OCR)
msl THE PALM BEACH POST WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 15, 1999 13A : FLOYD Hi i'M.I.v UP THE COAST north, they're taking no chances "WfJgjMW- alia r ' T J urtrzzrfCZi z:Zmr Treasure Coast closings Today Martin and St Lucie County schools are closed. Teachers also should not report B All Martin County and St Lucie libraries are closed. Council on Aging of Martin County is canceling all services today , including the Community Coach, Meals on Wheels, adult day care, Log Cabin Senior Center activities and the HCFA Shine Public Forum. B Indian River Community College is closed today. Volleyball games scheduled for today will be rescheduled. B Martin, St. Lucie and . Okeechobee County courthouses are closed. B Fort Pierce city offices are closed. B Port St Lucie city offices are closed. B Stuart city offices are closed B SewaU's Point has canceled meetings this week B Nichols and Waste Management will not run garbage routes today. B Keep Martin Beautiful Coastal Cleanup is rescheduled for Oct 2. B United Way of Martin County canceled all meetings for this week. The campaign kick-off is rescheduled for Oct 1 and 2 at Treasure Coast Square mall. B StuartMartin County Chamber of Commerce Business After Hours is rescheduled to Sept 22. Canceled activities B All Senior Friends activities in St Lucie County For additional information call 468-4443. B All programs and facilities at the city of Stuart, Recreation Department, 201 S.W. Flagler Ave., Stuart B Blowing Rocks Preserve in Hobe Sound. B Florida Oceanographic Society, 890 N.E. Ocean Blvd.i Stuart B The Fort Pierce Community Center in Fort Pierce. B Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution in Fort Pierce. B Martin County Parks & Recreation in Stuart B The Council on Aging, Senior Campus in Port St Lucie. B The Council on Aging of Martin County in Stuart B The Port St Lucie Community Center Port St Lucie. B The Woman's Club of Stuart has postponed its meeting. Interstate 95 leading north out of Jacksonville was jammed Tuesday as residents There were traffic jams from Jacksonville to Orlando as , Hurricane Floyd headed away from South Florida. By Paul Lomartire, Gary Kane and Sonja Isger Palm Beach Post Staff Writers Residents of the Space Coast and North Florida will wake this morning hoping to have the same good luck as those in South Florida, who watched one of the century's most dangerous storms pass by harmlessly. But few are relying solely on luck: On ;Tuesday, tens of thousands of North Florida residents heeded evacuation 1 warnings, boarding up their homes and businesses before fleeing inland to escape from Hurricane Floyd. Thousands more took refuge at emergency shelters. "We haven't heard too many stories , about people staying," said Nathan Mc-Collum, emergency management coordinator for Indian River County. ; Floyd has also led to other disrup-i tions. NASA evacuated nearly all of the 12,500 employees at the Kennedy Space Center and stowed away the four space , shuttles, worth $2 billion apiece. Officials ; .worry that a storm surge could inundate the low-lying grounds of the facility. The storm also caused Walt Disney World to close for the first time. Other .theme parks in the Orlando area followed suit Forecasters on Tuesday night still believed Floyd, with its 140-mph winds, . would skirt the Florida coast today before coming ashore in Georgia or the Carolinas. The eye of the storm is expected to come within 65 miles of the Cape Canaveral area some time this morning, according to the National Weather Service. But a "small deviation", to the east could easily bring Floyd ashore near the cape, which juts like an elbow into the ; Atlantic Ocean. That news sent Brevard ; County officials scrambling Tuesday to ' try to find more shelters for residents, ' after 8,511 people had filled all 15 of the ' county's shelters. '.. .; "The plan is, we got as many sheltered as we could," said Lynda Yezzi, Brevard County Emergency Manage-; nient information officer. "The others ' whd waited too long will have to find ; other places." : - ; Floyd was expected to be off Flagler i Beach, near St. Augustine, around 2 p.m. ! today, and near Jacksonville about three hqurs later. ; State officials are preparing for damage.-On Tuesday, Gov. Jeb Bush sent President Clinton a letter asking that the state" be declared a federal disaster area, , granting aid to the state. That request ; was approved in the afternoon the first time that the federal government has ! gfanied such a request before a storm has actually hit. I " T- The string of evacuations up the ; coast Tuesday coupled with the addi- tiqnDof some evacuees from South Flori-;da created traffic jams from Jackson-; viTleto Orlando, particularly on west-: bound roads. Traffic on Interstates 95, 10 "and 75 was slowfrom St. Augustine as far V, ... . : ..If, tors Bureau was suggesting hotels in Chattanooga, Tenn. Forecasts have Floyd passing closer to the coast today than it did Tuesday. Residents of the barrier islands around St. Augustine prepared under the assumption that the storm will come within 50 miles of Flagler Beach. About 50,000 people were expected to flee by 8 p.m. Tuesday, when county officials threatened to arrest anyone disobeying the order on misdemeanor charges, said O.C. Hayes, emergency operations spokesman for St. Johns County. By noon on Tuesday, about 85,000 people had already fled the beach areas Megan Henry, 10, of Jacksonville enjoys the hurricane-enhanced high surf Tuesday at Jacksonville Beach Pier. 'it I Photos by GREG LOVETTStaff Photographer fled the approaching hurricane. near Jacksonville. But there, like many places, the hurricane had an element of novelty for those who just had to watch the white-foamed surf. Many stopped by the Jacksonville Beach Pier to give the 39-year-old structure a final look. "I grew up here. I was born in the year Dora came through," said 35-year-old Melody Scheel, referring to the last big hurricane to hit Jacksonville. "That pier was twice as long and then Dora cut it off. I'm curious to see if Floyd will take the rest." In Daytona Beach, Kat and Dixon Porter Harper stopped to watch the churning sea after salvaging Dixon's baseball card collection from their apartment. The couple also checked on their commercial fishing boat before running off to St. Petersburg. "He made sure we got all his Mickey Mantle stuff," Kat Harper said. For some, refuge from Floyd took on ark-like proportions. More than 200 people brought their pets to a cavernous arena at the Volusia County Fairgrounds. Dozens of dogs and cats, tanks of tropical fish and cages of birds, hamsters and lizards settled in for the night near the cots and mattresses of their owners. "Believe it or not, when we shut down the lights tonight, it will get pretty quiet," said Sergio Pacheco of the county's animal control office. D Staff writers Jenny Staletovich, Thomas R. Collins, Mike Williams, Shirish Date, Jennifer Peltz and Scott Hiaasen contributed to this story, which was supplemented by The Associated Press. v. v- t .1 P " e it: ,V, -t. 4 V "v. Mi , f THE BAHAMAS Heavy damage reported as islands take direct hit west as Lake City. Roads around Jacksonville were at a standstill as fleeing residents from the south converged with people leaving the beaches and the low-lying areas along the St. Johns River. Nearly all of the 500,000 hotel rooms in the Orlando area were filled Tuesday. Jacksonville's airport began to close down Tuesday night, as Orlando's did hours earlier. The storm pushed some people right out of Florida. Evacuees and displaced tourists tried to find rooms in Atlanta, but were told nothing was available south of Calhoun, Ga., 80 miles to the north. The Atlanta Convention and Visi significant tree damage, of small docks washed away and boats being lifted from their moorings," he said. "But we won't know the extent of it all until people can get out and walk around. The big question right now is, What is happening in Eleuthera? And the honest answer is, we don't know." Winds on Eleuthera, San Salvador and Cat Island reached 110 mph and Bahamian authorities feared damage there might be extensive. News broadcasts reported that New Plymouth on Green Turtle Cay was flooded as deep as 6 feet in some places. "We can't get through to San Salvador or Cat Island, but we expect it to be bad," said Melanie Roach, public works director at the government emergency command center. Most Eleuthera residents were huddled inside shelters, and the island's popular Club Med resort is closed for the off-season, as are many smaller guest houses throughout the Bahamas. Meteorologist Jeremy Pennington of the National Hurricane Center west of Miami said a ham radio operator there was able to get some information about the winds in Nassau, where Floyd was weakest, but that virtually no contact had been made with the northern islands of Eleuthera and Abaco, which appear to have taken a direct hit. "We assume with a Category 4 hurricane passing over, there's significant damage," Pennington said. The tourism industry dealt with Floyd the best it could. At the fancy Atlantis Paradise Island Resort, which has the largest casino and convention center in the Caribbean, thousands of guests hold up in a ballroom, watched movies and uined t Palm Bench Cn Institutions B School District of Palm Beach County: Schools closed today. Youth Court, scheduled for tonight in Palm Beach Gardens, has been canceled. B Palm Beach Atlantic College: No classes today. B Florida Atlantic University: All campuses closed today; classes will resume Thursday. B Lynn University: No classes today. B Northwood University: No classes today. B Palm Beach Community College: No classes today; classes will resume Thursday. B Palm Beach County government: Closed today. B Palm Beach County Health Care District Closed today. B Palm Beach County courts: ciosea toaay. can lor updates. B State government Closed today. H reaerai offices and courts: call the Federal Information Center at (800) 688-9889. B Fourth District Court Of Appeals: Closed today. fl Palm Tran: Call 233-1166. B Tri-Rail: Call (800) 874-7245. . B Palm Beach County Library System: Call 233-2600. Local eovernments fl Palm Beach: The town council meeuncr has been rescheduled to 9:30 a.m. Friday, fl Trash collection Call your city or town if it is not listed. Regular collections will resume today for residents of the following areas: Haverhill, Hypoluxo, Mango-nia Park, Palm Beach Gardens, Palm Beach Shores, Riviera Beach, Royal Palm Beach and in unincorporated areas of Palm RtirH inf-r Press who Collections will resume Thursday in Boynton Beach, Clewiston, Juno Beach, Jupiter, Tpnupta and TVpct Palm Rm-Vi Early reports show no deaths or injuries, but there has been little contact with the northern islands. Palm Beach Post Staff and Wire Reports Hurricane Floyd pounded the Bahamas with howling winds and blinding rain Tuesday, snapping palm trees in half, ripping roofs off homes, downing power lines and churning up dangerous surf throughout the vulnerable islands east of Florida. ' Frightened residents in the low-lying archipelago huddled inside their homes and dozens of public shelters as Floyd, a dangerous Category 4 storm with top sustained winds near 140 mph, raked the Bahamas. ; "All the palm trees are at 45-degree angles and they're very big trees," said Mary Shelley, who was peeking out from her home on Paradise Island. "It's ening and exciting at the same time." The storm uprooted 30-foot trees and sent blinding, horizontal sheets of rain through deserted streets. It shoved cars around and set car alarms screeching throughout Nassau, and several people in Nassau were reportedly being treated for minor injuries. Telephone lines were down throughout the islands and the Bahamian government deployed damage-assessment teams armed with satellite phones to get a handle on the wreckage. No deaths had been reported late Tuesday and there was no official report of serious injuries, said Rene Mack, who was handling media inquiries from New York for the Bahamian government. I y We've had repor ts of lots of hotels with LYNNE SLADKYThe Associated Many Bahamians took shelter in the resort hotels largely abandoned by tourists fled. This unidentified girl was allowed into the lobby of a Cable Teach hotel. as they might on a normal night. A smaller guest house on Cat Island was so eager to help its guests get out of town that it chartered Lear jets to evacuate them. Island residents, meanwhile, hid behind their shuttered windows. In a driving rain on New providence Island, rescuers tried to reach' homeown ers who lost their roofs, but they had to contend with debris-strewn streets and flood waters 3-feet deep in places. "We're trying to deal with it one emergency at a time," Roach said. Staff writers Eliot Kleinberg, Cheryl Blackerby and Christine fivans contributed to this story.