[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Monday, 6 September, 2004, 21:48 GMT 22:48 UK
Hurricane Frances: Your experiences
Christian Ferrer carries his wife, Pricila, on his shoulders through the floodwaters in the Pineapple Park neighbourhood of West Palm Beach, Florida following Hurricane Frances
Hurricane Frances has been downgraded to a tropical storm and has almost passed over the US state of Florida.

Two people have died and damage appears to have been widespread.

But it is thought to be less severe than Hurricane Charley which hit Florida three weeks ago and killed 26 people.

Nearly three million people in coastal areas were forced to flee their homes and Governor Jeb Bush declared a state of emergency.

Are you in the areas affected by Hurricane Frances, either in the Bahamas or in Florida? What did you do? Send us your comments and experiences.

This debate is now closed. Thank you for your comments.

Do you have any pictures of your experiences? If so, you can send them to BBC News Online.

The best photos sent to us will be put into a photo gallery, so please send us your name, where you live and some brief details about the picture you have sent, along with the topic subject in the email header.

E-mail them to yourpics@bbc.co.uk


If you submit an image, you do so in accordance with the BBC's Terms and Conditions.

In contributing to BBC News Online you agree to grant us a royalty-free, non-exclusive licence to publish and otherwise use the material in any way that we want, and in any media. (See the Terms and Conditions for the full terms of our rights.)

It's important to note, however, that you still own the copyright to everything you contribute to BBC News Online. This means you are perfectly free to take what you have produced and re-publish it somewhere else. Please note that if your image is accepted, we will publish your name alongside it on the BBC News website. The BBC cannot guarantee that all pictures will be published and we reserve the right to edit your comments.


Your comments:

Neighbour's wood fence is in the back yard and we lost a big chunk of the orange tree
Judy, Bradenton, Fl, USA
I've lived here 22 years and have never been through such a prolonged storm. It makes you crazy after a while, especially at night. We stocked up on what we needed to. TV was on all night as neither of us got much sleep. Now the clean up starts...neighbour's wood fence is in the back yard and we lost a big chunk of the orange tree.
Judy, Bradenton, Fl, USA

This is a brutally slow storm. We missed a direct hit, but it amazes me that only 45 to 50 miles to the north of Miami, the effects of the hurricane can really be felt. Been lucky that there has been no power outages here. Cable TV is down and I have read everything in my house - the boredom is getting to me.
Mike Daly, Miami, FL, USA

After a weekend of being battered by Frances, most people (in Nassau at least) seem to be ok. There is a lot of damage though; lots of power lines down, trees etc. We still have no contact with Grand Bahamas Island, which was hit the hardest by the storm. The last we heard, one of the shelters on that island (housing just under 200 people) had collapsed and many residents were desperately trying to evacuate at the last minute as their roofs flew off.
Deneisha Moss, Nassau, Bahamas

This storm is not causing major damage, but a lot of people are cooped up without power.
Dean Wilson, Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Sleep at this time is almost impossible due to the sound of the wind
Jack Dieckhoner, Pompano Beach, FL
The winds are so strong that my windows are rattling. Sleep at this time is almost impossible due to the sound of the wind. But fortunately I still have electricity and my house is still intact.
Jack Dieckhoner, Pompano Beach, FL

My friend Sara and I arrived in Daytona Beach Florida on the 31st and within two days advised to leave, so we went to Orlando to get a flight out and it was utter pandemonium. We are now safely waiting out the storm in New Orleans, and will venture back to Daytona on 6th Sept to survey the damage to our apartment, fingers crossed!
Debbie Walpole, Leatherhead, Surrey

Stress and anxiety are the order of the day here. The endless waiting for the next advisory to see if Frances will approach us is agonizing. We boarded up the house 3 days ago and we're well prepared, so we'll just wait and see.
Pete Dymond, Jax, Florida Ex-UK

As an ex Brit living in Florida, I am bemused by the local news coverage of the hurricane. They hype up the whole event and people get bored with it. If the hype continues, people will stop listening and ignore all the warnings. As for the effects of the hurricane, as of 8:06 Friday night there have been little if no effects from the hurricane.
Lyndon, Plantation

Everyone is buying up essential supplies
Lee, Jacksonville, Florida
We've just emigrated to Jacksonville, FL, six weeks ago from London. Where ever I go I take bad weather with me! Our second hurricane in three weeks!! We should be safe here in Jacksonville but still everyone is buying up essential supplies. The department stores have sold out of generators, torches, and candles. Plus there are now some petrol shortages. The loss of power for a few days is the biggest concern. My wife is a nurse and will sleep at the hospital tomorrow night for her shift the next day. You've got to admire the good organisation and general calm.
Lee, Jacksonville, Florida (English ex-pat)

Ex pats from Newcastle Upon Tyne now living in Florida. It has been an unbelievable 2 days of non stop hurricane force winds and horizontal rain. We stayed in our home during this storm but if we get the next one Ivan we will evacuate! It has been very frightening, loads of property damage, trees down and a fuel shortage.
John Chater, Clermont Florida

We were both due to fly out of Florida the day Hurricane Charley hit. They sent most of the airport staff home, cancelled all internal flights and at one point the airport lost complete power after being struck by lightening. It was very scary - and we only got the 'backlash' from the true storm.
Elliot and Becci, Birmingham

If only the lawmakers would update the building codes by finally banning the hundreds of 'cardboard' trailer parks located all over the state of Florida
Kris Rost, Miami Beach, Florida
Where am I to go? Living in a safe, hurricane proof building on the Atlantic Ocean in Miami Beach, I decided and refused to obey the mandatory Miami Beach evacuation order. West of the beach, there are few large, and thereby safe, buildings to occupy. Even the shelters are on low-lying ground and conditions there are questionable to say the least. If only the lawmakers would update the building codes by finally banning the hundreds of 'cardboard' trailer parks located all over the state of Florida. This is where the problem lies. It has been only 3 weeks since Hurricane Charley hit us, and the new tropical storm Ivan is already tracked for a Caribbean destination sometime next week. No matter what storm may be forecast, I plan to remain safe at home on the beach for many storm names to come.
Kris Rost, Miami Beach, Florida

Both my family and my wife's family are hunkered down in our house. It's frustrating because the 20 of us are glued to the TV reports wondering where the storm will hit. We're prepared but nervous.
Christopher Harris, West Palm Beach, USA

Yesterday started with a "warm breeze" strengthening to moderate winds. All the shops, hotels, parks etc are locked down tight and expecting the worst, a result of the recent experience of Charlie. We're locked in our hotel until tomorrow at the earliest.
Alex Stewart, Paisley - holidaying in Orlando Fl

My neighbours gave me some plywood and nailed up my windows so I mowed and cleared their lawns
Rhonda Roberts, Orlando, Florida
My house and neighbourhood took a lot of damage during Frances. Yesterday I was fortunate enough to have a tree service haul away some of the logs from fallen trees and broken branches in my yard. The Home supplies have been impossible for the past week as people are not looking forward to another week with no power, and no water. The stress is really painful up here, I doubt anyone is getting much sleep. However, my neighbours have been wonderful. We are pooling resources like plywood, batteries, tools, gas and generator power. My neighbours gave me some plywood and nailed up my windows so I mowed and cleared their lawns. We are all busy cooking all the food in the freezers as we will most likely loose power soon and cooked food preserves better on ice. It will be OK. Rhonda Roberts, Orlando, Florida

We live right on the beach and I actually enjoyed watching the storm come in, the waves grow higher and angrier. A hurricane feels like a living being, with a mind of its own. We were concerned about the damage potential (my husband went through Andrew, I did not) and the hysterical non-stop TV coverage contributed to my agitation. We had positive and bonding experiences with friends and neighbours. What scared me more then anything was the possibility that my husband could run out of cigarettes.
Barbara Ritthaler, Miami Beach, Fl, USA

At 9:00am EDT we are just beginning to feel the effects of Frances. Already, there are trees and branches down and electricity is sporadic. The storm is not forecast to really hit here until later today. This is a bad one.
Elaine A., Ridge manor U.S.A.

Sleep at this time is almost impossible due to the sound of the wind.
Jack Dieckhoner, Pompano Beach, FL
The winds are so strong that my windows are rattling. Sleep at this time is almost impossible due to the sound of the wind. But fortunately I still have electricity and my house is still intact.
Jack Dieckhoner, Pompano Beach, FL

This storm is not causing major damage, but a lot of people are cooped up without power.
Dean Wilson, Fort Lauderdale, Florida

It's approx 208am Sunday morning and the wind is blowing from the southwest and it is slamming my home here in Miramar Isles, Florida. I can say the wind is about 50 MPH and the lake tides are about 2 foot and clashing against the sea-wall and the wind is whistling. Earlier I was in the yard and I made a few measurements; the sea-wall is approx 3 feet high. I went out to check again at 213am and the tide is soaking the grass areas. Shutters are in place, cars are parked near the home and hopefully later in the morning this thing will blow over.
Elisha Najiy, Miramar Isles, USA

We are bracing ourselves for the storm. We have battened down the house and have out storm supplies. As an ex-pat experiencing my first hurricane, I am just grateful for the kindness and friendship shown by people here. We are all in it together.
Paul, Melbourne, Florida

Crazy behaviour to some but as a surfer myself I understand
Aaron B Brown, Pompano Beach

Hello BBC from Pompano Beach Florida. The winds have picked up here even though the hurricane is passing well north of us. We've had guests up to 60 knots (that's nearly 70 mph) that are shaking the hurricane shutters. It's baton down the hatches and all hands off the deck. The local news interviewed some surfers that had evaded the police blockades to the barrier island. One had gone out to the end of the local pier and jumped off with his surfboard into 15 foot surf. While he was being interviewed the police attempted to apprehend him or at least advise him to leave but he just dove back in and paddled back out. Crazy behaviour to some but as a surfer myself I understand. A friend told me a tree fell on her car crushing the roof. Lots of fun here in South Florida!
Aaron B Brown, Pompano Beach, Florida

My mother lives in West Palm Beach. The actual storm is still hours off but already her power and phone are down. I only hope that her local cell towers remain unaffected so that I can stay in contact with her.
IR, Newark, DE

I live on the southwest gulf coast of Florida and even over here there's no gas. All gas stations are out. There stores here are boarding up others have tape covering the windows. Not a lot of stores are open. Traffic is light even on the West Coast here. We have Tropical storm warnings. It's wait and see.
Dale Wagner, Venice, Florida, USA

I hope all that aren't familiar with these storms don't get too relaxed until it passes
Kim Wolf, Miami, USA

Well it was a long night and basically nothing has happened ...yet. They say this is the longest storm ever. We are supposed to have it behind us by now but the rain and wind is still above us. We will get the hurricane force winds and bands by late tonight. Odd thing is that we boarded the East side of the house. It appears the winds wind around on this side of the storm and will come from the West. I am off to find more lumber and nails. We have constant rain sometimes heavier than others. I know they have it even worse north of us but I think Miami is in for a surprise. This storm is wobbling along and will send strong winds and loads of rain all over South Florida. I hope all that aren't familiar with these storms don't get too relaxed until it passes. Stay inside and don't be tempted by the intermittent calms.
Kim Wolf, Miami, USA

It is crazy the winds are so bad; we are all sticking together through this storm. The power is still up, we are so lucky so we can play X-Box and watch what's going on through the news. Kate's frightened.
David, Kate, Patrice, Lara and Rob, West Palm Beach

We're 30 miles North of where the centre of the hurricane is predicted to hit Florida. The windows are shuttered and we can hear the wind blowing hard already. It's hot outside but we're wearing sweats at the moment because we have the air-conditioning cranked before we lose power. We're making bets on which tree will fall where but we're already stir-crazy.
Eileen Graham, Palm Bay, FL, USA

Our little corner of suburbia just south of downtown Miami is eerily quiet. People should be out mowing the lawn, walking the dog, going shopping, but everyone is inside. The winds have picked up - think autumn gales in England - and are getting to the point where tree limbs could drop. We installed impact resistant windows a few years ago. In theory (since they've only been laboratory tested), they could withstand a coconut flying into them at 120 mph, which is reassuring having come across that in hurricane Andrew. (However they may well crack and they will be very expensive to replace.) Plus, it's nice to have natural light inside the house, unlike our neighbours who have to spend endless gloomy hours behind solid shutters of metal or plywood.
Penny, Miami

This is the 3rd hurricane I spent here in Miami.
Paula R. Herman, Miami Beach-FL
This is the 3rd hurricane I spent here in Miami. Fist was Hugo but I was too small to really remember it, then Andrew, in 1992 and now Frances... In these last two we have to evacuate Miami Beach. I am not sure how strong I twill be since it is now a Cat 3, but with Andrew, that did not even fully go though Miami, it made a lot of destruction. I am just few miles inland from Miami Beach with my family.
Paula R. Herman, Miami Beach-FL

We were lucky to miss a direct hit, but we now have lots of wind and rain and this will continue for the next two days. The streets are empty and most grocery and hardware stores sold out. I was here for hurricane Andrew, and so far, Frances is much kinder. We will loose five days this week, or we could think of it as a five day Labour Day holiday.
Mike Elder, Miami, USA

We are in Boca Raton and have been waiting for hurricane Frances for a couple of days. Everyone seems to be prepared and just waiting for its arrival here it's quite exciting being English and being able to experience a hurricane here!
Aimee, lives Manchester UK visiting Boca Raton FL

I have to contradict what a lot of people are saying about people panicking, being unreasonable etc. I am an Ex-pat, working and living in Miami. For those who have ever visited Miami, it can be a very inhospitable place for newcomers. To say that I am amazed is an understatement.
The human caring and spirit is not dead in times of crisis, and I am proud to have been able to witness such showings of compassion and caring.
John, Miami, FL

Everyone that I speak to, anywhere, shops, offices, in the street are all wishing you luck and to "be safe". People are not panicking, admittedly you have the odd people who are very late getting supplies, both food and to protect their homes, but it has all been very well controlled and in a state of calmness. The traffic has been heavier, only to be expected, and today, at least 24 hours prior to the expected landfall, the roads in South Florida are clear - its like Christmas Day!... The human caring and spirit is not dead in times of crisis, and I am proud to have been able to witness such showings of compassion and caring.
John, Miami, FL

We live on the beach and my husband refuses to evacuate. I am a registered nurse and will be reporting to the Hospital at 6pm tonight for hurricane duty. This is the slowest storm Florida has experienced. The whole of south Florida closed down yesterday and all we can do is await the approaching storm.
Katie Vento, Miami, Florida, formerly UK

It's really difficult for us here as this is the second hurricane in less than a month. We hope that the damage is less severe than the last time
Ravi, Orlando, FL

As a Brit now resident in Florida, we have gone through the first hurricane to hit this area in 44 years, but for it then to be followed within three weeks is just un-heard of. Although there was a lot of destruction, most of it was to trees and damage caused by trees. The clear-up operation was amazing, if it happened in the UK it would have taken months just thinking about it. Although this will be considered a disaster and a State of Emergency declared, give a week to 10 days and everything will be back to normal - lets hope for another 44 years! Terry (British ex-pat)
Terry, Kissimmee, Florida, USA

As Brits living in Miami, this is our first experience of a Hurricane. We were ordered to evacuate and spent 9 hours on Thursday driving from Miami to Tampa. Now we might get evacuated again because the storm is estimated to be here early Monday.
Stephen Johnson, Miami, Florida

After not seeing a hurricane since 60 with Donna, its just bizarre having two here within three weeks. I still believe the track will spring back to hit us, but wherever the track goes it's going to hit everywhere pretty hard in Central Florida and on the east coast. Charley was a ride, no power for just about a week, but this one could really knock us out with the winds blowing for at least 12 hours at or near hurricane strength. Give me the seasons and lack of extreme weather, that I left behind in the UK 3 years ago any day over this!!
Simon, Orlando, FL, USA

We were very lucky. no flooding. the winds were amazing. We ended up having a party!
Richie, Turks and Caicos Islands

I am visiting Florida at this time and it is heading straight for us, windows have been boarded up, shops are closing and DIY stores packed, selling out of boards, screws, nails, sandbags etc. At this moment everything is unpredictable.
Mike Burchmore, Swindon UK(currently on holiday in Stuart, Florida)

I have been told to evacuate. I keep abreast of the news. If it rises to a Category 5 I will definitely leave, 4 is iffy and if it descends to a Cat 3 I will remain in my apartment. I walked to the beach this morning. It was utterly fascinating. I'll keep you posted.
Patricia Fitzpatrick, Lake Worth, Florida, USA.

This is an email I received yesterday from my father who lives in Freeport - they've now dismantled the computer and moved it to safety in a second floor apartment (they live on the ground floor): "I have double roped the boats and charged the battery but if we have a surge of 15 feet that won't do much good. We are going to board up the big windows in our apartment. We will not stay here on the ground floor and might go to the second floor which will be better if the roof goes. The workers are busy hammering in nails into the lip of the new roof which has not been properly secured as the necessary material has not arrived. Perry Christie has just been on TV to tell us that this is the biggest storm in recorded history for the Bahamas. The storm is set to hit us Friday pm/Sat am."
Cathy Cook, UK

It's getting crazy down here, the highways are clogged and tempers are flaring, according to local news. People are beginning to panic over the possibility that Frances will hug the coastline and blow everything away. I've personally seen a couple of fist fights break out over portable generators and plywood at a Home Depot store here in Jacksonville. Another report on the news was about a gas station attendant who was shot at by a gunman. The gunman accused the station attendant of "price gouging" before opening fire. A friend of my cousin, who works at NASA, is very concerned that Frances will destroy the buildings housing the space shuttles and put the US manned space program out of commission. An aunt who works at Disney World says the park is battening down the hatches in case Frances moves inland. In the aftermath of Charley, people here in Florida are basically re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.
Ariston Theotocopulos, Jacksonville, FL




WATCH AND LISTEN
The BBC's Richard Forrest
"More than a million people have been ordered to leave their homes"



SEE ALSO:
In pictures: Hurricane Charley
16 Aug 04  |  In Pictures
US hurricane victims face turmoil
17 Aug 04  |  Americas
Florida begins hurricane clean-up
16 Aug 04  |  Americas
Bush visits hurricane-hit Florida
16 Aug 04  |  Americas
Hurricanes boost Nature's chances
22 Apr 04  |  Science/Nature


RELATED BBC LINKS:

RELATED INTERNET LINKS:
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific