Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education

Front Page



UK Politics







Talking Point

In Depth

On Air

Low Graphics

Thursday, September 16, 1999 Published at 04:05 GMT 05:05 UK

World: Americas

Carolinas braced for Floyd

The Bahamas have already been battered by the hurricane

One of the strongest hurricanes ever recorded in the Atlantic has battered the Bahamas and is poised to strike the east coast of the United States between North and South Carolina.

The BBC's Stephen Sackur reports: "It could have been worse; and it still might be"
President Clinton has described the evacuation of two million people in the region as "the largest peace-time evacuation in our history".

Those residents who have stayed - from Florida up to New England - have been preparing for the potentially devastating effects of Hurricane Floyd's 125mph (200km/h) winds.

Mr Clinton - who cut short a trip to New Zealand - has declared a federal state of emergency in the Carolinas as well as Florida and Georgia.

Maryland Governor Parris Glendening declared an emergency in his state on Wednesday morning.

Click here to see a map of Hurricane Floyd's progress

President Clinton said the response to the crisis had proved that "the American spirit is stronger than the force of any storm".

[ image: Floyd looms over the entire eastern seaboard]
Floyd looms over the entire eastern seaboard
The Miami-based National Hurricane Centre (NHC) is warning that - though the storm has weakened slightly - it "could maintain its present strength until landfall tonight [Wednesday]".

"All preparations in the warning area should be rushed to completion," the NHC says in its latest advisory.

The advisory says "storm surge flooding along with large and dangerous battering waves" can be expected far from the centre of the storm, which is moving north-north-west up the coastline at about 14mph (20km/h).

The BBC's Malcolm Brabant: "The storm is so huge that hundreds of communities could be hit"
Landfall is currently forecast for Wednesday night or early Thursday between Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and Wilmington, North Carolina.

From there, the storm is expected to weaken but nonetheless have an effect all the way up the eastern seaboard as far as Newfoundland in Canada.

Bahamas battered

Earlier, the hurricane swept through the Bahamas, bringing down trees and powerlines and flinging debris into buildings.

Hear President Clinton's statement in full
Terrified motorists were rocked in their cars and trees were torn from the ground as the centre of the storm passed over Arthur's Town on North Cat Island on Tuesday.

The islands of Eleuthera and Great Abaco also took direct hits. The capital Nassau on New Providence Island was devastated, witnesses said.

Have you been affected by Hurricane Floyd ? We want to hear about your experiences.

Click here to send us your accounts.

Schools and shops were shut down and residents fled from their boarded-up homes as surging seas reached more than 20ft higher than normal tide levels.

Weather experts said that if Floyd's winds had been just a few miles per hour stronger, it would have been classified as a category five storm, the most powerful of hurricanes.

Residents flee, resorts close

Meanwhile, in Florida, the Emergency Operations Centre issued a 400-mile hurricane warning and hundreds of thousands of people rushed to board up their properties before fleeing.

[ image: The storm has moved on from Nassau after causing devastation]
The storm has moved on from Nassau after causing devastation
Experts warned that Floyd had the potential to wreak as much havoc as 1992's Hurricane Andrew, which killed at least 26 people and caused more than $25bn worth of damage.

As authorities co-ordinate the civil emergency, Florida's tourism industry shut down with two of the major Orlando attractions, Disney World and SeaWorld, closing.

Almost every flight in or out of southern Florida was cancelled while the military sent aircraft inland and ships out of port to ride out the storm.

In Charleston, South Carolina, authorities told the crews of civilian cargo ships to prepare to leave port.

[ image:  ]
National Guard forces have been put on alert across three states as authorities lifted tolls on major roads away from the coast to help get the population out as quickly as possible.

Only a skeleton crew has remained at the low-lying Kennedy Space Centre at Cape Canaveral and three of Nasa's space shuttles were moved to their hangars - designed only to withstand winds of up to 105 mph.

The last time Nasa took such precautions was during Hurricane Erin in 1995.

[ image:  ]

Click here to return

Send us your hurricane experiences:

Your E-mail Address:



Disclaimer: The BBC will put up as many of your comments as possible but we cannot guarantee that all e-mails will be published. The BBC reserves the right to edit comments that are published.

Advanced options | Search tips

Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage | ©

Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia

Relevant Stories

16 Sep 99 | Americas
Eyewitness: Floyd hits North Carolina

15 Sep 99 | Americas
Picture gallery: Fleeing Floyd

14 Sep 99 | Americas
US giants bow before Floyd

14 Sep 99 | UK
Tourists flee hurricane's path

14 Sep 99 | Americas
Media in awe of Floyd's power

14 Sep 99 | UK
Britons in eye of the storm

10 Nov 98 | World
Nature's lethal weapons

02 Sep 98 | Sci/Tech
Vicious circles

Internet Links

National Hurricane Centre

National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration

Kennedy Space Center

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

In this section

From Business
Microsoft trial mediator appointed

Safety chief deplores crash speculation

From Entertainment
Taxman scoops a million

Violence greets Clinton visit

Bush outlines foreign policy

Boy held after US school shooting

Memorial for bonfire dead

Senate passes US budget

New constitution for Venezuela

North Korea expels US 'spy'

Hurricane Lenny abates

UN welcomes US paying dues

Chavez praises 'advanced' constitution

In pictures: Castro strikes out Chavez

WTO: arbitration in EU-Ecuador banana dispute

Colombian army chief says rebels defeated

Colombian president lambasts rebels