Florida is battered by fourth hurricane

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The Independent US

Hurricane winds and torrential rains pummelled Florida yesterday for the fourth time in just over a month, tearing the roofs off trailer homes, knocking out power to more than a million homes and creating rivers through Atlantic coastal towns where the storm made landfall.

Hurricane winds and torrential rains pummelled Florida yesterday for the fourth time in just over a month, tearing the roofs off trailer homes, knocking out power to more than a million homes and creating rivers through Atlantic coastal towns where the storm made landfall.

Hard on the heels of Charley, Frances and Ivan, Hurricane Jeanne whipped ashore about 35 miles of West Palm Beach on Florida's east coast and cut a swath across the state, bringing renewed misery to cities such as Tampa and Orlando, which had only just begun to recover from earlier onslaughts.

Previously battered households with plastic sheets for protection were ripped apart again, their interiors tossed into roads.

The first death was reported in Miami, almost 100 miles south of the eye of the storm, where a man was electrocuted by a fallen power line. More casualties seemed inevitable.

Florida hasn't had four hurricanes in a single season since records began in 1851. Jeanne - 400 miles in diameter - was last night heading north-west towards the Florida panhandle and was expected to keep going into Georgia and the Carolinas.

Jeanne appeared to be moving faster than Frances, raising hopes of less damage. The biggest risk is from flooding. In Vero Beach, where Jeanne first hit on Saturday, 20ft swells engulfed Ocean Drive. "More of the road has gone," Jim Gabbard, the town's police chief, reported.

Three million people were urged to leave their homes. Jeanne's 120mph category 3 winds were expected to fall to category 2 level last night.

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