NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER - MIAMI FL
"IVAN's MAXIMUM WINDS ALOFT WERE OBSERVED TO BE 150 KNOTS ON SEP. 8TH. IT IS UNPRECEDENTED
TO HAVE A HURRICANE SO STRONG AT SUCH A LOW LATITUDE IN THE ATLANTIC... IVAN IS EXPECTED
TO REMAIN A VERY DANGEROUS HURRICANE."
By PAULINE ARRILLAGA, AP National Writer
September 17, 2004
PENSACOLA, Fla. (AP) -- The storm that was Hurricane Ivan
extended its deadly march across the South on Friday,
destroying homes, swamping streets and leaving hundreds
of thousands of people without power from the Gulf Coast
to the Carolinas.
Ivan was the deadliest hurricane to hit the United States
since Floyd in 1999, but it could have been worse. In all,
the hurricane was blamed for 70 deaths in the Caribbean
and at least 33 in the United States, 14 of them in Florida.
The storm's remnants battered the southern Appalachians
on Friday. And more bad news awaits: Tropical Storm
Jeanne looms in the Atlantic on a track toward the
southeastern United States - and, possibly, Florida.
"People are just sick of it," groaned Dennis Mace, who as a handyman is one of the few
Floridians benefiting after the third hurricane in five weeks assaulted the Sunshine State.
Hunting for work in the wake of Ivan, Mace spotted a sign that summed up the feelings of
many: It read: "1 Charley, 2 Frances, 3 Ivan, 4 Sale."
Ivan weakened after coming ashore, but it continued to spin off tornadoes and cause flooding
across the South, already soggy after Hurricanes Charley and Frances. Up to 9 inches of rain
fell on parts of Georgia.
NORTN CAROLINA AND TENNESSEE
In North Carolina, Ivan's heavy rain and wind forced evacuations along rivers, knocked out
power to nearly 220,000 customers and sent trees crashing into homes across the western part
of the state. At least six people died there. The hurricane's remnants also prompted flood
warnings in 34 eastern and middle Tennessee counties, where forecasters predicted up to 7
inches of rain.
By late morning Friday, the storm's remnants were centered about 45 miles east of Knoxville,
Tenn., at the state's eastern tip.
Ivan came ashore with 130 mph winds near Gulf Shores Beach, Ala., around 2 a.m. CDT Thursday,
but it was the Panhandle - squarely in the northeast quadrant of the storm, where the winds
are most violent - that took the brunt. More than 2 million residents along a 300-mile
stretch of the Gulf Coast from New Orleans to Panama City, Fla., were told to clear out as
Ivan closed in.
In Escambia County, home to Pensacola and some 300,000 residents, at least seven people died
in the storm, including one who suffered a heart attack at a shelter.
"Some of the houses, everything inside was gone out of one side - like a heavy wave of water
hit it and spit the stuff inside of the house out," Sheriff Ron McNesby said.
Electricity, water and sewer services could take weeks to be restored, Escambia County
emergency management chief Michael Hardin said Friday.
"We've got a long haul ahead of us," Hardin told NBC's "Today."
Off Gulf Shores Highway, in a neighborhood nestled along Pensacola's Grand Lagoon, at least
a half dozen homes and businesses were demolished - some swept clear off their foundations.
The hiss and stench of leaking gas filled the air as stricken residents waded through
calf-high water collecting what belongings they could.
Doug Pacitti, a deck hand on a charter fishing boat, lived with his friend and 4-year-old
son across the street from the bay. On Thursday, he stepped over crumbled bricks, broken
dishes and plywood to survey what was left of the house he rented.
Where the kitchen should have been, silverware and skillets sat under an open sky. The
refrigerator was propelled into the back yard, where it came to rest under a fallen pine
"Everything's gone - everything," said Pacitti, 31. "Three thousand dollars worth of fishing
poles. The antique dishes my grandmother gave me - gone. Even my kid's toys."
A storm surge of 10 to 16 feet spawned monster waves. A portion of a bridge on Interstate 10
the major east-west highway through the Panhandle, was washed away.
Search and rescue missions in Florida continued, but no new storm victims were found early
Friday, Santa Rosa County spokesman Don Chinery said. A National Guard convoy left
Tallahassee early Friday to deliver food, ice, water and other supplies to hard-hit areas,
and counties hoped to get relief centers set up later in the day.
About 430,000 homes and businesses in eight Panhandle counties - nearly all of Gulf Power
Co.'s customers - were without power. Alabama still had 880,000 customers without power;
Georgia, 223,000; and Mississippi, 65,000.
Federal Emergency Management Agency director Mike Brown said search and rescue workers may
have to use aircraft to get to hard-hit areas that are cut off by washed-out roads.
"THE STATE OF FLORIDA IS A DISASTER AREA"
"Virtually the entire state of Florida is a disaster area," Brown told CBS' "Early Show."
"These people are just worn out from these storms."
Insurance experts put Ivan's damage at anywhere from $3 billion to $10 billion. Hurricanes
Charley and Frances had combined estimated insured damages between about $11 billion and
$13 billion after striking Florida in the past month.
The troika of hurricanes - Charley, Frances and Ivan - have the potential to give Florida's
$50 billion tourist industry a "black eye" in the long term, said Abraham Pizam, dean of
the University of Central Florida Rosen College of Hospitality Management.
President Bush planned to visit Alabama and Florida to survey the damage on Sunday, the White
In Louisiana, Gov. Kathleen Blanco was thankful for Ivan's narrow miss.
"Louisiana truly is blessed," Blanco said, asking evacuees to "remember to be thankful that
most people are returning to safe, sound, whole homes."
If Louisiana was blessed, Florida remained cursed.
"It's sad," said a weary Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. "I don't know quite why we've had this run of
storms. You just have to accept that."
By the hurricane center's tally, counting deaths directly caused by a storm as it hits, Ivan
was the deadliest hurricane to hit the U.S. mainland since Hurricane Floyd killed 56 people
in 1999. Ivan's unofficial death toll included 14 in Florida, three in Mississippi, one in
Alabama, four in Georgia, one in Tennessee and six in North Carolina. In Louisiana, four
evacuees died after being taken from their storm-threatened homes to safer parts of the state.
For Floridians weary of all the worry, aggravation and heartache of the past month, there was
one final number to consider Friday: There are 73 days left in the hurricane season.
Associated Press reporters Brent Kallestad, Bill Kaczor, Matt Crenson and David Royse in Florida, Jay Reeves in Gulf Shores,
Ala., Holbrook Mohr in Pascagoula, Miss., Bill Poovey in Spring City, Tenn., and Paul Nowell in Sapphire, N.C., contributed
to this report.
September 18, 2004
CASHIERS, N.C. - (AP) - The violent remains of Hurricane Ivan pounded a large swath of the
eastern United States on Friday, drenching an area from Georgia to Ohio, washing out dozens
of homes, sweeping cars down roadways and trapping more than 100 students at an elementary
The storm retained its destructive power over land even as its wind speed dropped.
AS FAR NORTH AS MARYLAND
More than 8 inches of rain in some areas triggered deadly floods, hundreds of thousands of
people were without power, and tornadoes were reported as far north as Maryland. Even after
the storm was no longer a hurricane, it was responsible for the deaths of eight in North
Carolina, four in Georgia and one in Tennessee.
In the southwestern corner of North Carolina, four were killed and as many as 30 homes
destroyed in Cullasaja, a tiny mountain valley town in the Nantahala National Forest.
It was not immediately clear how they died.
"These mountains are very unforgiving when it comes to floods," said Ronnie Setzer, the owner
of a convenience store less than a mile from the neighborhood that was inundated. "Some of
the old-timers told me this is the worst flooding they've seen in 40 years."
In Georgia, where up to 9 inches of rain fell, Jon and Dianne Birts fled their home along the
Coosawattee River with their cat and drove to higher ground, but abandoned their truck
because of floodwaters.
"When we stepped out, we realized the truck must have been floating because the water was
over our heads, so we started swimming as hard as we could," said Jon Birts, a retired banker.
Guided by the headlamps of their sinking pickup, the couple grabbed hold of a floating
propane tank until a passing driver helped them to safety. Dianne Birts had to let go of
the cat's cage to survive.
"All of these material things I'm thinking about floating down the river don't mean a hill
of beans," she said. "I do miss my kitty, though."
IN EASTERN TENNESSEE
In the eastern Tennessee town of Spring City, rushing water from a creek cascaded through
the business district, breaking out storefront windows and carrying away merchandise.
Heavy rain stranded about 150 students and employees at a southeastern Ohio elementary school.
Officials said the building was on high ground and out of danger.
IN WEST VIRGINIA
About 100 schoolchildren in West Virginia's northern panhandle also spent the night at their
schools because of flooding. More than 3,000 in that state were evacuated as mudslides and
high water blocked roads and toppled trees. Some people were rescued by crews in helicopters
In Pennsylvania, as much as 6 inches of rain fell in parts of Pittsburgh.
As much as 9 inches of rain fell in western North Carolina. The Department of Transportation
said nearly 200 roads were impassable in western counties.
In Sapphire, N.C., Jim Lorenz lost power at his country store but moved his gas grill onto
the front porch and gave away coffee and hot dogs.
Flights were suspended for about an hour at the Charlotte airport, where the storm tore
insulation and other debris from terminal buildings and filled one of the terminals with dust.
The heart of the loosely defined storm was about 100 miles southwest of Roanoke, Va., with
20 mph wind. It continued moving east-northeast at about 20 mph and was expected to continue
following that path.
IN SOUTH CAROLINA
In South Carolina, there were several reports of tornadoes in Oconee County.
Virginia Gov. Mark R. Warner declared a state of emergency as heavy rain lashed his state's
mountainous southwestern tip. Nine tornado touchdowns were confirmed.
In Maryland, a tornado tore the roofs off two houses in Frederick County.
ALEX BONNIE CHARLEY DANIELLE EARL FRANCES GASTON
HERMINE JEANNE KARL LISA MATTHEW NICOLE
PHOTOS: CHARLEY FRANCES IVAN JEANNE
2004 Hurricane Briefs