Saturday, September 25, 2004


Hurricane Jeanne is coming

As I write, I'm listening to Gov. Jeb Bush make a special appeal to the residents of the Florida East Coast to evacuate. Hurricane Jeanne is expected to come ashore as early as noon today. Apparently many residents are refusing to evacuate.

I don't know what accounts for this, but I suspect a kind of "hurricane fatigue." The East Coasters have evacuated so many times in a period of little over a month that they may be saying something like "You want me, come and get me!" Not rational, but understandable.

The other factor may be the direction that residents are being asked to take. In most East Coast evacuations the residents get on Interstate 95 and head north (or south). But Jeanne is expected to follow I-95 north, so residents are being told to head west—that is, into the interior of the state.

But aside from I-4, which runs between Orlando and Tampa, there are no comparable routes into the interior. There are two-lane and four-lane roads, certainly with traffic lights in the built-up areas. After seeing the traffic jams on the interstates in previous evacuations, it is hard to imagine what an evacuation to the interior must be like.

This may be disastrous because Hurricane Jeanne is actually much stronger than Hurricane Frances, hovering around a Category 3. If the hurricane areas are not successfully evacuated, this could be the worst storm yet in terms of loss of life.

Meanwhile, I'll continue to blog. But as happened with Hurricane Frances, I may be cut off for a few days. So if I disappear for awhile, keep checking back. I will return.

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