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September 7, 2008

Hurricane Ike Threatens Florida

The Florida Keys have been evacuated in anticipation of Hurricane Ike. The dangerous storm is swirling through the Caribbean at this time but is expected to hit Florida in a couple of days. As visitors are told they must leave and abandon their vacations, the hurricane gets closer and closer.

Hurricane Ike did extensive damage to the Turks and Caicos Islands. The Category 4 storm is on it’s way to Cuba next. This evening it should hit Cuba and then continue on towards Florida. Unfortunately Hurricane Ike is not weakening much as it travels. Tourists in the Florida Keys were told to evacuate Saturday and now the residents are being told to leave. At 4 p.m. the evacuations of the Upper Keys and mainland Monroe County will begin.

Hurricane Ike has slightly changed it’s path but it seems to still be a threat to the Florida Keys. At 8 Sunday morning Hurricane Ike had sustained winds of 135 mph and was just east of Grand Inagua Island in the Bahamas. As the storm moves westward it is traveling at 14 mph forecasters are keeping a close eye on it’s path. Even though the storm seemed much tamer as the dawn approached, it was still a major threat.

As much as 50 percent of the homes on Grand Turk have lost their roof or are completely destroyed. The extent of the damage is not known yet but it is expected to be very extensive. The loss of life is also not evident at this point.

Haiti and the Dominican Republic are hoping that floods do not occur. Tropical Storm Hanna dumped tons of rain on the islands last week and Hurricane Ike has made flooding a possibility. Mudslides and flash flooding are an issue in the mountainous terrain. These two islands will be hard to navigate when it comes to rescue efforts.

When Hurricane Ike passes over Cuba it is expected to weaken some. However, since it is a category 4 storm, even if it weakens some, it will still pose serious danger for anyone in it’s path. Right now the “cone of uncertainty” spread to the Gulf Coast from Texas to South Florida. Hurricanes are difficult to track so the projected path of Ike is not etched in stone. The hurricane could easily twist and head in another direction.

The governor of Florida has issued a state of emergency for the state. Residents that were just braving the winds of hurricanes and tropical storms are in for another dose. As the storms continue to come and batter the Caribbean and the gulf states of the United States residents are faced with the issue of evacuating or not. Officials in Florida are preparing by gathering supplies for people that are in vulnerable areas. The Florida Keys were the only part of Florida that were facing a mandatory evacuation order. The rest of the state is likely to wait things out. After all, who wants to evacuate every few days? At some point you just have to take a chance.

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