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 Scotland independence vote: Everything you ever wanted to know about life after the result
- 2 Lego breaks out of the toy box and heads for the gallery
- 3 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
- 4 Piers Morgan attempts to save the Union by promising to go back to the US if Scotland votes 'No' to independence
- 5 Tyler, The Creator says having the new U2 album automatically downloaded on his iPhone was 'like waking up with herpes'
David Haines remembered: Death of British hostage executed by Isis lamented from the Balkans to Sudan
Jennifer Lawrence and Kate Upton nude pictures exhibition cancelled after artist concedes photos were 'stolen property'
David Haines beheading: David Cameron says Britain will hunt down Isis 'monsters' shown in video murdering aid worker
Piers Morgan attempts to save the Union by promising to go back to the US if Scotland votes 'No' to independence
Jennifer Lawrence to make public appearance after nude photo hacking scandal as Met Gala Ball 2015 co-host
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained in Los Angeles after being mistaken for a prostitute
George Galloway on Scottish independence: The political class is doing what Hitler couldn’t – destroying Britain
Scottish independence: Nationalist leader Jim Sillars threatens pro-union companies with 'day of reckoning' after independence
Scottish independence: Yes campaign feels the heat as Alex Salmond's NHS claims come under furious attack
Scottish independence: Britain faces 'constitutional crisis' at next election
£23m Birmingham cycle scheme is attacked by Tory councillor for not catering to the elderly
£50 - £65 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: We are looking for flexible and i...
£50 - £65 per annum: Randstad Education Leeds: We are looking for flexible and...
£130 - £160 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Qualified KS2 Supply Teacher r...
£130 - £160 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Qualified KS1 Teacher required,...