Party time as Erin hits Florida coast
Wednesday 02 August 1995
The eye of the hurricane passed along Grand Bahama island, missing Nassau but stranding thousands of British and other tourists as flights were cancelled.
As the hurricane's eye appeared to target an area between Vero Beach and Palm Beach on the Florida coast, wealthy residents who had expected Erin to hit further south frantically began boarding up their homes or moving inland.
Earlier, the hurricane, the first to hit eastern Florida since Hurricane Andrew killed 35 people and left 250,000 homeless three years ago this month, had appeared headed for Miami and the Keys, but it then changed tack.
The first strong winds whipped the Boca Raton area around 4pm yesterday afternoon but Erin was expected to hit with full force in the early hours of today, and authorities warned it could be followed by tornados. Local officials ordered coastal areas evacuated from Miami Beach in the south to Smyrna beach in the north, but a majority of residents opted to batten down the hatches and stay home.
Although some people continued to venture out, including surfers, and wave-jumping jet skiers revelling in the conditions, there was an eerie atmosphere as birds, among them the renowned flamingos, disappeared inland, sensing the incoming storm.
"We're having a hurricane party," said Rob McFate, a 29-year-old New Yorker who heeded an official call to evacuate low-lying Key West and moved to the Florida mainland at Pembroke Pines. "We got vodka, white wine, red wine, chasers, extra CDs."
Many tourists ordered out of the Keys on Monday, however, may face further bad luck today and possibly tomorrow as Erin's northerly twist threatened to close Disneyworld at Orlando.
Despite the lingering trauma from Andrew, there was no sign of panic as Erin headed for Florida at speeds of 85 miles per hour and upwards. That made it only a Category One hurricane on a scale of five - Andrew was graded four - but meteorologists said it might become a Category Two with winds of up to 130 mph.
Most worrying was the amount of rain the first hurricane of the 1995 season was carrying as it spun west-north-west towards the coast. Andrew dumped four inches of rain in a few hours. Erin looked likely to unload up to 10 inches over a longer period.
- 1 If you weren't afraid of flying before last week... you probably are now
- 2 Israel-Gaza conflict: The secret report that helps Israelis to hide facts
- 3 Students offered grants if they tweet pro-Israeli propaganda
- 4 Lauren Goodger calls for tougher laws on revenge porn after sex tape leaks online
- 5 Iraq crisis: End 'very near' for Christianity after Isis takeover, says Bishop
Israel-Gaza conflict: The secret report that helps Israelis to hide facts
A day in the life of Vladimir Putin: The dictator in his labyrinth
Opponents of Israel's military operation in Gaza are the real enemies of Middle Eastern peace
Were 'Poor Doors' added to mixed developments so wealthy residents don't have to go in alongside social housing tenants?
Arizona execution lasts two hours as killer Joseph Wood left 'snorting and gasping' for air
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Massive rise in sale of British arms to Russia
£30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly reputable software house is looking ...
£40000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established professional services...
Highly Attractive Salary: Austen Lloyd: CITY - SENIOR COMMERCIAL LITIGATION SO...
£35000 - £40000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client is...