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September 25, 1998

For current conditions see Weather Watch

Click for strike probability chart

At large

What to expect, thanks to Georges
Evacuations and the possibility of power outages, flooding and bridge closings disrupt daily lives.

Questions and answers about the evacuation order
Some questions and answers about the evacuation ordered in response to Hurricane Georges.

Ordered to leave
Almost 400,000 Tampa Bay residents were ordered to evacuate coastal areas and mobile homes today as Hurricane Georges threatened to bring tropical storm force winds to the area as early as tonight.

Area endures storm jitters
Whether it's the drumbeat of warnings or memories of Andrew, anxiety is widespread this week.

Transfixed by Georges, compelled by Andrew
By today or tonight we will see. It is impossible to pinpoint, over the past days, the precise moment Hurricane Georges emerged from the background noise of our humdrum daily cares. But suddenly it loomed over us as the biggest, even the only, thing in the whole world to worry about.


photo
Hurricane Georges is shown in an enhanced infrared GOES-8 satellite image at approximately 5:15 a.m.
(AP Photo/Global Hydrology and Climate Center)
Georges proves a model foe for disaster planners

The complex storm poses threats similar to the worst-case scenarios that emergency officials encounter in practice sessions.

State
From southwest Florida, a caravan crawls

Residents of rapidly growing Naples and Fort Myers haven't dealt with a hurricane in nearly 40 years. But they remember Donna.

Hillsborough
County a whirl of preparation

TAMPA -- Hillsborough County officials ended another day of frantic storm preparation Thursday with an order for 175,000 coastal and mobile residents to find safer ground first thing this morning.

Near water, residents board up and wait
TAMPA -- Ten years ago, Warren Wright decided to spend $6,500 for Roll-a-way storm shutters on the windows of his waterfront home. He had had too many close calls to take another chance.

Cost of preparing is too high for some
TAMPA -- Don't wait until it's too late. Don't be irresponsible. Make sure you get your supply of plywood, batteries, flashlight, food and water, hurricane safety officials say.

Pinellas
Pinellas put on price-gouging alert

Hurricanes put regulators on the lookout for price gouging by merchants.

Trop's top probably can take it, by Georges
The dome can withstand winds of 110 mph, "with a safety factor beyond" that level, says its designer.

Declaration gives powers to county
Pinellas County commissioners declared a state of local emergency Thursday morning, allowing them to order a mandatory hurricane evacuation and giving them several other powers, including the right to enforce a curfew.

Agencies prepare frailest seniors
In a quiet corner amid the swirl of activity in the parking lot of a St. Pete Beach nursing home Thursday, Bill Barbosa tried to comfort his 85-year-old mother, to help her understand why she had to leave before Hurricane Georges arrives.

Residents ready to stay or go
Whether they are loading up sandbags or planning the best route out, area residents aren't taking Georges' threat lightly.

Battening down hatches means sinking a few
ST. PETERSBURG -- Signs abounded Thursday that St. Petersburg officials were busy preparing the city for Hurricane Georges: They opened an emergency operations center, cut short a City Council meeting and sank a Russian submarine.

Sandbags fly as city hunkers down
The supply of 1,400 bags was snatched up by wary residents by 4 p.m., and two popular musical events were canceled. But the evacuation of the VA at Bay Pines was postponed for a day.

County cautious about ordering evacuations
County emergency management officials learned their lessons well during Hurricane Elena in 1985 -- and that was the biggest problem Thursday as they debated how early to open the shelters.

Tourists desert beaches and hotels
Fearing they will experience the wrath of Hurricane Georges, most head to hotels inland or home.

Agencies mobilize to protect pets during storm
Beth Lockwood has been preparing for this day for six years, thanks to Hurricane Andrew.


Bottled water supplies have disappeared from shelves at a Publix in Tampa. [Times photo: Dirk Shadd]

Preparations

Storm preparations complete, anxiety comes alive in the wait

Chris Callison has always been a planner. That's why she has been running all over town for size D batteries. That's why she loaded her cart with more baby food, soup and tuna cans than normal.

Parents reassure kids, prepare for boredom
TAMPA -- This is all new to Cathy Pinelli, a former New Yorker whose children attend Hillsborough public schools. The threat, the warnings, the preparation, the controlled panic, the waiting.

When storm threatens, these workers remain on the job
Those needed to deal with an emergency take care of personal duties, then it's off to work they go.

Safe and Sound
As Hurricane Georges approaches the bay area, tak the following steps to secure your boat.

Quest for insurance must wait till storm passes
When hurricanes and tropical storms threaten, it can be tough to buy a house.

Heading for higher ground? Start early
For those planning to ride out Hurricane Georges somewhere other than at home, official advice is: Get started early.

Beware quick-buck artists swept in by storm
It always happens: Just as the hurricane leaves, the fast-buck artists show up to cash in on the calamity.

 

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