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Hurricane Frances

Fort Pierce, Florida - Sept. 4-5, 2004

The Fury of Frances - Hurricane Frances making landfall at Fort Pierce, Florida. Sept. 4th - 5th, 2004.

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Me taking wind speed measurements on a dock off the coast in Fort Pierce.

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Some of the wind gusts were incredibly strong and visibility was greatly reduced.

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What's left of a gas station near our motel.

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Typical Florida Palm trees bend in the wind.

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This is the trailer park on the barrier island. We watched parts of it blow away in the strong gusts.

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The strongest part of the eyewall came ashore after dark. This is one of many blue explosions that we witnessed. These power flashes are caused by short circuiting power lines and exploding transformers.

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This mobile home had its roof peeled right off.

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The storm surge takes over a coastal park.

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The water at the base of the main bridge gets churned up.

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This building didn't fare too well in the waves.

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Many destroyed traffic signals were strewn about the roadways.

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Incredible storm surge waves crashing ashore.

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Testing the winds along side a local palm.

2 Days In Hell !! - Sept 05, 2004 9:00 P.M. EDT - Hurricane Frances finally made landfall yesterday as a category 2 storm. It stalled and sat stationary for hours before it eventually crept its way onto the Florida coastline with the strongest portion of the storm crashing into Fort Pierce. I was there as the storm battered the area for over 24 hours. We watched huge storm surge waves crash into coastal areas, whipped up by fierce winds as well as a trailer park starting to come apart right in front of us. The storm then intensified after dark and numerous blue/green explosions were seen as transformers and power lines got destroyed. The eye of this storm was so big and it was moving so slowly that we were actually able to get some sleep and rest up before the east side of the eyewall struck the following morning. Right now I'm trapped in Daytona Beach with no dry clothes, no electricity, no more gasoline and almost no food. The storm is still raging outside and I don't know when I'll be able to get fuel and eventually leave. The problem is compounded further by the Labor Day holiday. Mark and I tried to make a run for gas tonight but the storm was still too bad and the power outages too extensive. Driving conditions are terrible and numerous car accidents are strewn across the highway. We actually had to stop at one point when we spotted a half submerged car on its side in the flooded ditch. I grabbed my fire extinguisher and with the help of another motorist, we smashed the side window open to see if there was anyone still trapped in the vehicle. Luckily, it was empty.

Ground Zero - Sept. 02, 2004 10:14 P.M. EDT - As central Florida prepares for the arrival of Frances tomorrow, I've been able to get to Fort Pierce, directly in the bull's eye of the forecast track. We were able to stock up on gasoline and food and even found an open motel. Right now a curfew is in effect and most of the streets are deserted. The storm has slowed down dramatically and has weakened down to a Category 2. The slow forward motion of the hurricane will be a problem because the winds and rain will remain over the same areas for prolonged periods of time. Today has been a very hectic day with innumerable radio and television interviews and now I need to sleep. The storm will make landfall tomorrow and I expect a great deal of difficulty getting around due to flooding, downed trees and no electricity.....Stay tuned!!

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Very high surf in Jupiter, Florida as the hurricane slowly creeps towards the coast.

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Very blustery winds and rain increasing as the outer bands of the hurricane brush the coastline.

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2.5 million people have been given evacuation orders. The most ever in Florida history.

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Most businesses have boarded up their windows.

Evacuations Begin - Sept. 02, 2004 12:00 P.M. EDT - I'm now in the hurricane warned zone at Juno Beach, Florida after a marathon all night drive. Hurricane Frances is now bearing down on the Florida coast and hurricane warnings have been posted for the East Coast. Right now a steady stream of evacuees are heading north out of the area. It has weakened a bit but is still forecast to strike land on Saturday as a Category 4 storm.

Evacuation

Washington D.C. - Sept 01, 2004 9:00 P.M. EDT - On the road. After a quick stop at U.S. customs and a few hours of traffic delay in Pennsylvania, we've made it as far as Maryland. Now we have to wait for Scott McPartland and Dave Lewison to catch up with us. They departed New York City later than expected thanks to the traffic jams caused by the Republican National Convention. Once we finally meet up, we'll press on into the night.

Departure - Sept 01, 2004 5:32 A.M. EDT - And we're off!! I'm my way out the door now. From this point on, all updates will be made while on the road. Frances is still considered a "Dangerous Hurricane" by the NHC. It's holding at Category 4 strength right now and is taking aim at the Florida coast for a landfall on Saturday.

Frances Intensifies - Aug 31, 2004 4:26 P.M. EDT - As expected, Frances has gained some strength and is back up to Category 4 status. The new forecast track shows her curving a bit to the North towards the Florida/Georgia state line. Right now, Frances is just North of Puerto Rico and the eye of the storm is just barely within radar range of the island. I leave Toronto tomorrow morning after a quick T.V. interview on a national morning show. Accompanying me will be Mark Robinson from Mississauga, Ontario. We'll be meeting up with New York Chasers Dave Lewison and Scott McPartland tomorrow night. Then it's the long drive to get into position.

Puerto Rico Radar

Aug 31

Aug 30, 2004 2:55 P.M. EDT - Hurricane Frances has weakened slightly and is currently a Category 3 storm. This weakening is temporary and it is expected to re-intensify. How strong it will get is uncertain and its exact path is not clear yet but Labor Day weekend has the potential to be rough one for parts of the U.S. East Coast. A hurricane watch is already in effect for the British and northern U.S. Virgin Islands and the islands of Culebra and Vieques.

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Aug 29, 2004 - Hurricane Frances has become the second Cat 4 hurricane of the Atlantic Hurricane season. It's currently packing sustained winds of 132 MPH with gusts up to 160 MPH!! Frances may pose a serious threat to the Bahamas and the East Coast U.S. next week. I will be intercepting this intense storm if it makes landfall. Stay tuned...
Introducing the CPOV - The Chaser Point Of View Camera. I'll be using this new, helmet mounted camera system to help document the most intense eyewall winds of Hurricane Frances. The rugged camera is fully waterproof and is designed to withstand winds up to 200 MPH. You'll be able to see exactly what I see and experience what it's like to be in the eye of the storm. This will be the first time that a storm chaser has ever used such a camera system.

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