Saturday, September 25, 2004

Dangerous Category 3 Hurricane Jeanne slamming Bahamas heading for Florida

This is the NOAA satellite enhanced infrared image gathered at 4:45 a.m. EDT Saturday Sept. 25, 2004 showing hurricane Jeanne located near latitude 26.5 north... longitude 76.2 or about 55 miles (90km) east of Great Abaco Island in the northwestern Bahamas. Jeanne is moving toward the west at near 14 mph. Reports from an Air Force Reserve hurricane hunter aircraft indicate that maximum sustained winds are near 105 mph (165 KM/hr) with higher gusts. According to NOAA forecasters Jeanne is expected to intensify into a category three hurricane. (AP Photo/NOAA)

M. Ressler, Senior Meteorologist, The Weather Channel
As the surf continues to build and increasingly heavy rain bands swirl ashore into the central and southern Florida, the first hurricane force winds from this category-3 hurricane will likely reach the coast between Melbourne and points north of Miami by evening. Conditions will continue to dangerously deteriorate across much of the peninsula tonight as Jeanne moves onshore and then into central Florida. Hurricane force winds will damage buildings and bring down a new round of trees and power lines. A flood watch is effect for the entire peninsula for torrential rains than could dump between 5 and 12 inches in some locations. Even the west side of Florida will likely experience tropical storm conditions by Sunday. A combination of surge, above average tides and battering waves on Florida's east coast will cause at great deal of coastal damage. On Sunday, Jeanne will likely rake from central Florida into northern Florida on a track toward southern Georgia. As winds turn onshore on Florida's west coast Sunday, the combination of higher than average tides and the Gulf water being forced to the coast could cause coastal flooding north of Tampa. On Sunday as Jeanne gradually weakens, building damage will become much less of a concern on its northward track but major tree and power line damage will continue over the central and northern peninsula and possibly into the eastern portions of the panhandle. Monday into Tuesday, a steadily weakening Jeanne will likely head northward through eastern Georgia and the eastern Carolinas with more flooding rain, the risk for tornadoes northeast and east of track and tropical storm strength winds that could still bring down trees and power lines.