Fort Lauderdale News from Fort Lauderdale, Florida on September 19, 1989 · Page 4
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Fort Lauderdale News from Fort Lauderdale, Florida · Page 4

Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Issue Date:
Tuesday, September 19, 1989
Page 4
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4A Fort Lauderdale News, Tuesday, September 19, 1989 Mmnricame Hung .Htumcame Center weathers storm of media chief. t r ST i Unflappable, Bob Sheets deals with Hugo spurs insurance inquiries By TOM STIEGHORST Business Writer Am I covered? That's the question hundreds of South Florida insurance agents were asked repeatedly on Monday as Hurricane Hugo ripped through Puerto Rico, causing people to think seriously about the storm's arrival In South Florida. "We had numerous calls from our existing customers," said Doug Buchan, an agent for Allstate Insurance in Fort Lauderdale. Most were told they had adequate coverage, he said. Homeowners can get coverage from Allstate and most other companies until a hurricane alert is issued, Buchan said. Some companies stop issuing policies in South Florida when a hurricane reaches , 15 degrees longitude, 65 degrees latitude, other agents said. That is about 220 miles , southwest of Puerto Rico.. ' Standard homeowners , coverage protects against almost all damage from hur-: ricanes broken windows, torn roofs, ' even total destruction of the home. An exception is damage from rising wa-i ter tidal surge near beaches and canals, l or floods from lakes and rivers. For that, flood insurance is needed. It takes effect i five days after purchase. Commercial ' agents sell flood insurance on behalf of the federal National Flood Insurance Pro- gram. ; Business owners tend to be ahead of ; homeowners in preparing for a hurricane, j "Commercial accounts are usually very insurance-conscious," said Eileen Miller, ; .an agent for Keyes Coverage of Tamarac. FROM PAGE 1A Huge hurricane slams into Puerto Rico; death toll at least 14 buildings, and sent chunks of concrete plunging into streets in San Juan, where one-third of the U.S. commonwealth's 3.3 million people live. Fifty airplanes were reported destroyed at the airport in Isla Verde. San Juan's Munoz Marin International Airport sustained major damage, said Jim Brown, a spokesman for American Airlines. The company was able to speak with its general manager at the airport on Monday through a radio relay in the Dominican Republic, Brown said. There was widespread damage in San Juan's Condado Beach area, the site of many of the island's large tourist hotels. Shattered glass, strips of roofing and overturned trees littered the streets, and few drivers ventured out The storm disrupted international communications to the island, and a spokeswoman for American Telephone Si Tele graph said there was no indication when service would resume. Widespread power outages also were reported in the Dominican Republic. Bands of people, mostly youths, looted storm-damaged shops in San Juan, and police patrols were reinforced at the main post office, political party offices and shopping areas. In a boutique in San Juan, young looters defied winds hitting 100 mph at the peak of the storm and carried out armloads of women's clothing. The storm blew out the windows in the Associated Press office on a peninsula between the sea and San Juan harbor, destroying computers and office equipment From Puerto Rico, the storm moved in a northwest direction at 12 mph. If it hits the United States, it could strike land, "anywhere from the Florida Keys to North Carolina," forecaster Sheets said. South Florida residents will have at least two days notice before the storm hits, and forecasters will know later today or Wednesday whether Hugo is bound for : . . t 1 -! , ' iv ' w s ' t Staff pfeotoEUOT J. SCHECHTER news interviews while tracking Hugo. HUGO 90j Tenn ' 85- 80' J)bv ! 5 : & jlj , r1 - I 80- 75 70 65 . ' J I . ' X I ,, , Z The future path of Hurricane Hugo could be determined by UNITED STATES i SO y Hurricane Hugo: U O one of two weather systems now over the United States: . u 1 'Nr ""J4 - 1 0:30 p.rr.. Monday '" "' y "T"'" t 35.. - 35 J VjP ' 20.1N67.2W Vr If the storm moves at its Miss Ala ) Ga Jr Windspeed110mph Ga f present speed, a huge current I J ..; Moving northwest at 12 mph A JL. " of air could direct it to a - T Atlantic U------ 1 I landfall between North Florida La "Vn j ft oft- Ocean , . . . y, .-S..v- ! -and southern North Carolina. 30" . S " Jf- Tropical Storm Iris O0 riA X rj.Athh,,,..,! L fNew Orleans V in..nnm Mnnriau .... (F,l L 2. But the hurricane . JtasBtA t- -10.30 p.m. Monday V q . slows, a different air ow 16.5N 56.5W V current could direct it to Gulfof I Fla West Palm Beach Windspeed 50 mph - the Middle Atlantic or . 1 uJlto, rA Bahamas Moving north-northwest at 18 mph - " " ""Northeast states. 25" . Mexico rgrt ovBanamasi Cuba Bahamas ! I i V iFort Eleuthera , a$n) j SLauderdale f j V"v '5S CuTOnt Jj'm J? f 100 miles Jamaica Haiti Dominican Puerto!9 rv L " lV ' Republic Rico JC JiB ?.ui?l ......r.' Midnight Monday 1 1 j 20' K- , ok r, 6 p.m. Monday . . S Cayman4 Jamaica ( 0J Noon Monday - Vj J r Islands W KyMT Wight Sunday Af - V I Hartl Dominican Puerto . 9p.m. Qio:30 p.m. Monday V a Repub,ic RC0 Noon-rr-cSaturday VJ Vom Monday Caribbean Sea Virgin,sla4 Sunday T L 15- f I CENTRAL " " i ' Guadaloupe' . I' - "WAMERICA, A J j- ) 9 p.m. Friday I 5 f J 200m"eS 9 k 6 pm Thursday Pacific f r J? 6a.m.MondartO 5S -O ' 10:30 P.m. Sunday) . V. .. S jsOUTH AMERICA j Hugo could hit South Florida as early as Thursday or Friday, forecasters said. But it is still possible that Hugo could miss the U.S. East Coast altogether. South Florida officials met on Monday to dust off emergency-preparedness plans, but they took pains not to panic the public in case the storm misses Florida. South Florida, he said. Sheets said he told state disaster officials on Monday afternoon to be ready for Hugo at the end of the week but not to alarm the public. "People should be going about their normal activities but be prepared," Sheets said. Hugo's path depends largely on a high-pressure system massing over the Cast Coast Sheets said. If the system moves east, Hugo will have a greater chance of hitting Florida. If the system remains stagnant, Hugo will likely turn north, he said. Hugo took a slight northward turn mid-afternoon on Monday. The new direction, if continued, would be a good sign for South Florida, forecasters said. He cautioned that the change would have to last through the middle of today to be significant Hugo's next stop appears to be the Bahamas, including the Turks and Caicos Islands, Sheets said. Those islands should do nothing to diminish Hugo's strength, he said. At Hugo battered Puerto Rico, French Overseas Territories Minister Louis Le Pensec arrived on the stricken island of Guadeloupe along with military planes carrying 50 tons of emergency supplies and more than S00 emergency workers. Five people were reported killed, 80 injured and more than 10,000 homeless Sunday on Guadeloupe. Two people were killed on Antigua, Beacon Radio said in Anguilla and there were reports of six deaths in Montserrat Nearly all of Montserrat's 12,000 residents were homeless and without food or fresh water, ham radio operator Stuart Haimes of Queens, N.Y., said. Off St Thomas, charter boat captain O.B. O'Brian told Miami TV station WTVJ that many boats and homes had been By SETH BORENSTEIN Staff Writer CORAL GABLES Everyone wanted a piece of Bob Sheets, director of the National Hurricane Center. It was Dan Rather at 2:30 p.m., Australian television at 3:45 p.m., then CNN, and newspaper reporters all the time. The noise at hurricane central was constant telephones ringing, people shouting, radio and television broadcasts going out. Hurricane Hugo had not hit South Florida just hordes of media. About 200 reporters, producers and camera operators crammed into the center to report on the huge storm, said Vivian Jorge, who coordinated media requests. With every strand of hair in place, Sheets broadcast a quick advisory on Hugo's path at 5 p.m. that television stations throughout the country could use if they wanted. But most of the reporters crowded into the computer-filled sixth-floor office damaged. Most of the Virgin Islands' 106,000 residents live on St Thomas and St Croix. On St. Croix, a ham radio operator said the winds tore the roofs from up to 75 percent of the homes, and there were reports of looting. A local weather service said winds ripped the roof off a baseball stadium on Vieques, an island with 7,000 residents 10 miles east of Puerto Rico. Bernard Sternberg, a Sunrise ham radio operator, said he talked to a radio operator who was on a boat in the eye of the hurricane as it passed over Vieques. "He asked us to pray for him and we did," Sternberg said. "We prayed for all of them." The Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico were last hit by a major hurricane in 1956, when Betsy caused extensive damage and killed 11 people in Puerto Rico. Hugo is the fourth hurricane of the Atlantic hurricane season and is the most E)werf ul to hit the region since Hurricane avid in 1979. That storm killed an estimated 1,200 people in the Caribbean and Florida. Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Iris gathered 60 mph winds in the wake of Hugo, and forecasters warned residents on the already battered Leeward Islands to keep a close watch on its progress. At midnight Monday, Iris' center was near latitude 18.0 north and longitude 57.5 west Hurricane Center forecasters said it was moving toward the north-northwest at about 18 mph. The governments of Barbados, St Vincent and St Lucia issued warnings for Iris. Staff Writers Seth Borenstein, Charles Lunan and Don Melvin contributed to this report wanted more. They wanted interviews with Bob Sheets. As soon as Sheets got out of the seat and out from under the bright lights, two others, a meteorologist and a reporter, took his place for a Spanish broadcast. Reporters from Orlando and South Florida descended on Sheets asking more questions about Hugo's path, When those interviews were over, Sheets went back under the television lights. He plugged In his microphone which remains attached to the back of his neck during the few moments he is not on air and waits. "What am I doing next?" Sheets asked. "Does anybody know? Am I supposed to be here?" It is 5:15 p.m. Sheets is finishing his 12th hour on duty. It does not show. "He's that kind of personality," Jorge said. "Calm, cool and collected. Maybe he's not so cool; he was sweating." Jorge figures Sheets has given 100 interviews. His day ends about 6:45 p.m. Speed, currents will set future path of hurricane By WILLIAM K. STEVENS The New York Tlmea Scientists watching Hurricane Hugo say its future course and possible impact on the East Coast of the United States depend on timing. If the hurricane moves along as quickly as it has so far, meteorologists say, it should approach the coast in time to catch a ride on an air current that would guide it to a landfall somewhere between northern Florida and southern North Carolina. But if it stalls, a different current could direct the storm toward the Middle Atlantic states or the Northeast It should become clear by midday Wednesday which path the hurricane will follow, according to Paul G. Knight a meteorologist in the Weather Communications Group at Pennsylvania State University, which plots daily weather patterns nationally. In either case, barring some unexpected turn, they think that a landfall somewhere on the East Coast is likely. After a hurricane is born in the tropics, Knight said, it moves erratically, its spinning motion carrying it forward. But as it moves west and north, it becomes embedded in surrounding air currents capable of directing its movement The currents, in turn, are produced by the interaction of large systems of high and low pressure. Winds move clockwise around a high-pressure system and counterclockwise around a low-pressure system. Under some conditions, these winds merge to form a big current capable of carrying a hurricane. Such a condition now exists over the North Atlantic and the United States, Knight said. ' A weak system of low pressure, now over the Appalachians, is moving slowly toward the Gulf of Mexico. At the same time, a big high-pressure system is over the Atlantic, its center near Bermuda. The winds circulating around these systems combine to create a major air current. Hurricane Hugo is moving toward that almost ends, that is. Sheets was scheduled to broadcast on Nightline sometime around I a.m. Then it is to bed and back to work at 5:45 a.m. Sheets said even though he is constantly doing interviews and broadcasts, he still gets a moment or two to do his real job: tracking hurricanes. Still, he brought in extra help on Monday to free some of his time for the media. . y The big crunch is between 5 and 7 p.m., when local, regional and national television stations want news about Hugo, meteorologist Jesse Moore said. "Let's put it this way, we don't go out to dinner," Moore said. There are several meteorologists and hurricane specialists hunched over 18 terminals tracking Hugo and Iris, but Sheets is the front man as long as he can keep it up, said Herb Lieb, who coordinates the media when Jorge leaves. "As long as he's here, as long as he's healthy, as long as he can talk, hell do it," Lieb said. Stall graphlcKATHY HECKLER and BONNIE LALLKY It is not impossible that Hugo could cross Florida and move into the Gulf of Mexico. current of air. If it reaches the current before the Bermuda high and the Appalachian low move, the current could direct the storm toward the south Atlantic coast. But by Friday, the Appalachian low is expected to have moved out of the picture. The Bermuda high in the Atlantic is to have moved far to the north. Another system of low pressure is expected to move into the Northeast The winds from this low, combined with those from the Atlantic high in its new position, would create a new current of air to carry the hurricane. This current would be aimed at the Middle Atlantic states, including the New York area. Knight said that if Hugo became fixed in the more southerly air current this should become apparent by Wednesday. If that happens, he said, the storm is likely to come ashore on the South Atlantic coast. "This is what we expect to happen," probably on Thursday, he said. Unexpected factors can always change the situation, he said. For instance, if a storm becomes unusually intense, it can grow to such a size that it is controlled by air currents at altitudes higher than those that now appear about to affect Hugo. That he said, is why meteorologists like to hedge their forecasts. It is not impossible that Hugo could cross Florida and move into the Gulf of Mexico if the low-pressure system now over the Appalachians moves to the South faster than expected. But that is "not at all probable at this time of year," Knight said. Moreover, he said, there now exist in the Southeast two walls of winds running in opposite directions, celled a shear zone that would probably tear a hurricane apart if it tried to cross into the Gulf

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