Frances to rattle state

With the weekend approaching, Florida residents state-wide have scrapped their plans and instead have begun to brace themselves for Hurricane Frances.

The Category 4 hurricane is expected to hit Friday afternoon and storm through Sunday and has been called the worst hurricane since Andrew in 1992. Meteorologists predict that Frances will produce winds up to 140 mph with pressure up to 27 inches. The hurricane has already rampaged through the Caicos Islands and the Bahamas.

Officials throughout Florida have issued severe storm warnings in counties from Craig Key to Flagler. Evacuations have occurred in Broward and Dade County and schools have been closed. The storm’s wide sweeping range has caused officials to recommend that people only evacuate up to 10 miles from their homes instead of venturing too far and possibly running into it again.

“[Andrew] was a smaller storm; so we expect a wider area of damage than we saw with Andrew,” said Ed Rappaport of the National Hurricane Center.

Despite many residents deciding to flee the state, the Florida Emergency Operation Center has urged Floridians to prepare their homes for the storm. Crowds throughout the Florida’s east coast have packed hardware stores for ply wood and other damage control supplies. As preparations are made, residents have been told to plan as if Frances will be ìthe worst hurricane of our lifetime.î

A number of major events scheduled in Florida have been postponed as a result of Frances including the highly anticipated Florida State at University of Miami football game.

Shelters in Tallahassee have begun their preparation for evacuating residents looking for safety.

“We’re anticipating people to come to Tallahassee from other parts of the state,” said Jessica Norris of the Red Cross.

With local Lowe’s and Home Depot selling out of most of its hurricane products and other stores following suits, students have been urged to take the necessary precautions.

Norris suggests that students purchase batteries, bottled water and non-perishable foods. It is also important to have extra money in case of ATM failure and a portable radio for news updates.

Although some FAMU students are rushing for supplies, their concern for family and friends in other parts of Florida have grown. Many students have family located in South Florida and the Carribean, areas expected to be hit extremely hard by Frances.

“I’m concerned about my family having the money and supplies that they need,” Kedline Maxime, a nursing student from Fort Lauderdale.

Only weeks after Hurricane Charley, experts are warning that residents should brace themselves for more extreme damage.

ìThis storm is larger and will affect more land than Charley did once it makes landfall,î meteorologist M. Newman Sr. said.

contact steven jumper at