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Last Updated: Friday, 24 September, 2004, 17:34 GMT 18:34 UK
Bahamas put on hurricane warning
Hurricane Jeanne north of the Bahamas
Jeanne has already devastated Haiti
The Bahamas and Florida are readying themselves for the latest savage hurricane to hit the region.

Hurricane Jeanne, with sustained winds of about 100mph (160km/h), could hit the northern Bahamas on Saturday.

Schools and churches were being converted to emergency shelters as the storm bore down. It has gained in strength since it passed over Haiti.

After hitting the Bahamas, Jeanne could become the fourth hurricane to hit the US state of Florida this season.

Dozens of people have been killed in the US by hurricanes Charley, Frances and Ivan.

Second hit

The US National Hurricane Center (NHC) put Jeanne's position at 1100 (1500 GMT) on Friday as 290 miles (470km) east of Great Abaco Island, moving west at about 9mph (15km/h).

"Coastal zones need to be evacuated," said Assistant Police Commissioner Ellison Greenslade in Freeport, the Bahamas' second city.

"We will be taking all of the necessary precautions."

Freeport, on Grand Bahama island, was especially badly hit by Hurricane Frances three weeks ago.

Two people were killed, homes were flattened and some families are still living with friends and relatives.

Water supplies were only restored last week, and half of Grand Bahama's 70,000 people are still without electricity.

"We're right in the middle of trying to restore everything," said Harold Williams, of Freeport city council.

Yom Kippur

Although Jeanne has picked up strength since hammering Haiti a week ago, correspondents say Grand Bahama is better-equipped to cope.

Floods and landslides in Haiti have left more than 1,000 people dead.

The NHC also issued a hurricane watch for the east coast of Florida, from Florida City to St Augustine.

It also urged people to look out particularly for their Jewish neighbours.

"We are reminded that from sundown tonight until sundown Saturday is Yom Kippur... a solemn Jewish holiday," it said.

"Some of your Jewish neighbours in the watch and warning areas observing Yom Kippur will not be listening to radios or watching TV... and may not be aware of the hurricane situation."


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