Sunday, October 23

Hurricane Wilma Barrels Toward Florida

Just talked to my parents in Miami this evening, and as usuall, they are not worrying to much about the storm. Not to minimize preparedness, but they live in a great area that rarely floods. For the first time I ever heard, my mother is talking about getting storm shutters. Its so dificult to know whats real with the way newspapers seem to sensationalize storm news. Washington Post has more news on the evacuation efforts and preparations.
NAPLES, Fla. Oct. 23 -- After lashing Mexico's Cancun region with 135 mph winds, Hurricane Wilma turned to the northeast, gathered speed Sunday and was barreling toward Florida, where residents took shelter after days of nervous anticipation and emergency preparedness leaders made last-minute pleas to those who resisted mandatory evacuation orders.

Many residents had fled the Florida Keys and the coastal areas of Naples and Fort Myers, where evacuations were ordered. Up and down the roadways of southwestern Florida, shopping centers and fast-food restaurants were boarded up, and many neighborhoods seemed nearly deserted.

But thousands of residents were preparing to stay in their homes and ignoring mandatory evacuation orders, particularly in Key West, where some people disregarded repeated calls to leave, state and local officials said, even though the storm surge was forecast to be 5 to 8 feet above normal tide there and as high as 9 to 17 feet where Wilma makes landfall.