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Hurricanes

Helen Thomas
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Joined: Jan 13, 2004
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Florida seems to be having a hard time with hurricanes hitting it pretty frequently, most recently Hurricane Charley.
The news stories are very sad. Hope life gets back to normal soon as much as it can under the circumstances.


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"God who creates and is nature is very difficult to understand, but he is not arbitrary or malicious." OR "God does not play dice." - Einstein
Thomas Paul
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Danielle is in the middle of the Atlantic heading towards the Azores and Earl has collapsed into a tropical wave so Florida should be safe from severe weather for a bit. I read that this was the worst hurricane since 1992 when Andrew hit Florida.


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Helen Thomas
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Boscastle in North Cornwall, close to Tintagel, King Arthur's supposed birthplace, suffered severe damage after heavy rainfall. The swollen river destroyed cottages, cars,trees and anything in it's path leaving behind scenes of devastation.
[ August 17, 2004: Message edited by: Helen Thomas ]
Helen Thomas
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Hurricane Victims File for Unemployment

This is a lot worse than expected. Businesses have shut down.
Joe King
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Joined: Sep 02, 2003
Posts: 820
I saw a minister being interviewed, on TV, about the Boscastle flood yesterday. He was talking about the possible influence of human-caused climate change. He said that although its hard to say if pollution could influence these kinds of things, scientists know that pollution is changing the climate and no-one really knows what the side effects of this are.

The problem is that even if we stopped producing pollution now it could be too late - things like CFCs are still up there in the atmosphere happily removing bits of the ozone layer. I recently read that the average American has something like 50 times the amount of lead in their bloodstream as an American a 100 years ago would, despite lead not being used in food packaging for a couple of decades now.

Unfortunately without a clear link between pollution and really bad side effects its a bit hard to decide what should be done about it. I wonder if we may one day realise that we've triggered something awful and its too late to stop it. One example would be a collapse of a large ice sheet in the Antarctic caused by global warming. Such a collapse could raise the water level in the oceans by a couple of meters. Besides causing huge amounts of flooding world wide (imagine what would happen in places like Bangladesh if water levels increased by just a few centimetres) it could have large side effects on the weather patterns. One fear is that it could re-route the Gulf Stream. Although not terribly exciting for most of the world, this may cause a bit of consternation in the UK as it would mean a switch from our nice warm and wet climate to something resembling Siberia. This means that, strangely, global warming could make the UK colder.
[ August 18, 2004: Message edited by: Joe King ]
Joe King
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On a topical note, I've just seen this:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/3570602.stm
Jeroen Wenting
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Joined: Oct 12, 2000
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Joe, the entire idea that human action is causing climate change is long since debunked.
Of course the greens continue to spread the idea and try to suppress the truth because if it got generally known they'd loose whatever credibility they have left (and thus their considerable power).

http://www.co2science.org/index.html and look at other junk science debunking sites.

We're living in an interglacial, a period well established for often violent and sudden climate change.
The very idea (completely unproven and in many cases disproven) that human action would cause those changes is not only factually wrong but smells of extreme overestimation of our own skills (typically homocentric view) as well as underestimation of outside influences and the resilience of the planet.

Whenever there's a hot summer it's supposedly caused by global warming.
Cold winters too are supposedly caused by global warming.
Cold summers are caused by global warming causing global temperatures to drop (uuuuhhh?).

The hole in the ozone layer (which wasn't a hole at all, rather a temporary thinning but that doesn't look nice and alarmist on TV) was caused by extreme sunspot activity combined with several major volcanic eruptions.

During the grounding of US air travel following the 9/11 attacks the average surface temperature in the US actually went UP (despite the lower amount of "greenhouse gasses" released into the atmosphere by all those aircraft.
(this falls along the same line as the "chemtrail" conspiracy theorists who claim that aircraft contrails are mindcontrol chemicals, why would the US Government (they always write it with a capital G for some reason) stop their mindcontrol operations at a time like that?).


42
Joe King
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Originally posted by Jeroen Wenting:
Joe, the entire idea that human action is causing climate change is long since debunked.
Of course the greens continue to spread the idea and try to suppress the truth because if it got generally known they'd loose whatever credibility they have left (and thus their considerable power).

I'm not sure that the greens do have considerable power.

The very idea (completely unproven and in many cases disproven) that human action would cause those changes is not only factually wrong but smells of extreme overestimation of our own skills (typically homocentric view) as well as underestimation of outside influences and the resilience of the planet.


I agree that humans would need to do a lot to disrupt the climate by a noticeable amount, but its undisputed that humans are changing the composition of the atmosphere - the question of how much this noticeably effects the climate is unknown.

According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change:

Since 1750: the carbon dioxide concentration has increased by 31%, methane has increased 151%, nitrous oxide has increased 17% and tropospheric ozone has increased 36%. The majority of the anthropogenic carbon dioxide is produced by the combustion of fossil fuels. Methane is produced by cattle, energy, and rice production in similar amounts, each of which emit about 66% of the amount produced by the major natural source, wetlands


So we are making a change, although its disputed what effect this has. There are some interesting arguments either way. I would disagree that the theory that humans have cause climate change is "debunked", although I would also say that it is not proved yet.


During the grounding of US air travel following the 9/11 attacks the average surface temperature in the US actually went UP (despite the lower amount of "greenhouse gasses" released into the atmosphere by all those aircraft.

I very much doubt that a short term change of the amount of pollution produced could cause a change in the temperature - I don't think this increase in temperature has much baring on the argument. If humans are causing the climate to change, then its probably a very slow change.

(this falls along the same line as the "chemtrail" conspiracy theorists who claim that aircraft contrails are mindcontrol chemicals, why would the US Government (they always write it with a capital G for some reason) stop their mindcontrol operations at a time like that?).

The "mind control chemtrail" theory is, I agree, totally bonkers. Human caused climate change is not, however, any where near the same level of bonkerness. At the moment we simply haven't proved it either way - the arguments for or against human caused climate change are both good.

I'm not saying that we are or aren't changing the climate, but that we should seriously consider if we are or not. In something as important as this its worth being a bit cautious

US Government (they always write it with a capital G for some reason) stop their mindcontrol operations at a time like that?)

Because a capital G makes it sound more scary

There is another side to this though - even if we aren't changing the climate with our pollution, it has other effects. There are studies that indicate more people are dying of breathing problem related causes in polluted areas. We know about things like acid rain etc. I only have to look out of my window in London and see a dirty grey coloured sky and compare it to the colour of the sky in the country side to see the effect that pollution has on the air around the city. Even if pollution isn't causing large scale climate change, there are also other unpleasant side effects.
Thomas Paul
mister krabs
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It seems to me that we don't understand the weather or how weather works so making assumptions about global warming is a bit presumptious. No one has been able to explain why the world was a lot warmer during the Medieval Warm Period (MWP) which lasted from the 10th to the 14th century. Most global warming supporters simply ignore this period and compare current temperatures to the period prior to the industrial revolution, a period called the little ice age because of its unusually cool temperatures. During the MWP, temperatures may have been an average of 1 degree Centigrade higher than they are today.
Jeroen Wenting
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I very much doubt that a short term change of the amount of pollution produced could cause a change in the temperature - I don't think this increase in temperature has much baring on the argument. If humans are causing the climate to change, then its probably a very slow change.

It has been speculated that the absense of contrails slightly decreased the amount of reflected sunlight in the upper atmosphere, thus causing more light (and heat) to reach the lower atmosphere.

Of course there has not been a chance to verify this through more experiments but it could well be the case.

As to the increase in carbon dioxide and other gasses in the atmosphere, the recent past has seen an unusually high number of volcanic eruptions which produce massive amounts of these gasses (especially CO2).
What the treehuggers never tell is that even the increased production of CO2 and methane (among others) is still only a tiny fraction of the total amount of these chemicals being released into the atmosphere through natural processes and cannot possibly account for the observed changes (simply put, the entire human production of these chemicals is less than the observed change while at the same time the absorbtion of these chemicals through natural processes goes up in response to their increased levels making the difference even greater). I do include agriculture in this as being human production...

For example, the methane production of termites alone is larger by far than that of all of our agriculture.
A single large volcanic eruption will belch out more CO2 (not counting CO2 released through resulting fires in the area) than all of our vehicles combined in a year.
Joe King
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Joined: Sep 02, 2003
Posts: 820
Originally posted by Jeroen Wenting:
What the treehuggers never tell is that even the increased production of CO2 and methane (among others) is still only a tiny fraction of the total amount of these chemicals being released into the atmosphere through natural processes and cannot possibly account for the observed changes (simply put, the entire human production of these chemicals is less than the observed change while at the same time the absorbtion of these chemicals through natural processes goes up in response to their increased levels making the difference even greater). I do include agriculture in this as being human production...

For example, the methane production of termites alone is larger by far than that of all of our agriculture.
A single large volcanic eruption will belch out more CO2 (not counting CO2 released through resulting fires in the area) than all of our vehicles combined in a year.


Unfortunately vehicle emissions probably only make up a tiny proportion of the pollution we produce each year. Apparently one transatlantic flight will produce more pollution than every car in the UK combined for a year. Things like factories and power stations probably produce more still.

Although this may well be a small amount of the total amount produced (including natural sources), we have no idea how delicately balanced the system is. The changes that we are making to the atmosphere may well be enough to tip the balance and set of a chain reaction of climate changes. The problem is that we simply do not know enough to determine the full effect of pollution.

What is certain is that pollution is not a good thing. Even ignoring climate change, it has been proved that pollution causes breathing problems. A recent study in the UK showed that there has been a measurable drop in air quality in the UK and that the most likely cause was polluted air coming across from North America. What we need is an international effort to understand the effects of pollution and to possibly reduce it. The Kyoto treaty may well have been flawed, but we really should have something like it. The fact that some of the biggest polluters want nothing to do with it is very worrying.
Jeroen Wenting
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I include ALL vehicles in that, not just cars.

A single transatlantic flight does not produce more CO2 than all UK cars in a year, that's a deliberately lie on the part of leftwing greens who want people to stay where they're put which means restricting traffic (and using the environment as an excuse is just soooo easy).

In fact, air travel is by far the cleanest form of long distance transportation (barring sailing ships, but I doubt you want back to the times when it took weeks to cross the Atlantic even with good winds).
The emissions per passenger-mile (or ton-mile of cargo) are lower than that of just about any other form of transport including electric trains (remember that electricity needs to be produced and transported, the ideal of 100% wind and solar power is a hoax but that's another story).
Helen Thomas
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Joined: Jan 13, 2004
Posts: 1759
While this wouldn't be much use during a hurricane, the designers of the world's smallest helicopter claim it could be used to look for missing persons and check conditions in disaster zones.
Mini coptor stars at robot show


Enlarge image
[ August 19, 2004: Message edited by: Helen Thomas ]
Guy Allard
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Joined: Nov 24, 2000
Posts: 776
Charley = 8 days without power, spun back up today .... no damage to the property ...... hot showers, ahhhhhhhh .......

Guy (Orlando)
Helen Thomas
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Joined: Jan 13, 2004
Posts: 1759
Hurricane Isabel - Awesome.


[ August 22, 2004: Message edited by: Helen Thomas ]
Thomas Paul
mister krabs
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Joined: May 05, 2000
Posts: 13974
Originally posted by Helen Thomas:
Hurricane Isabel - Awesome.

http://www.badass.org/gallery/albums/death/hurricane.sized.jpg

[ August 22, 2004: Message edited by: Helen Thomas ]


Are you sure?

http://www.snopes.com/photos/isabel.asp

Big giveaway... how could the ocean that close to be a hurricane be as smooth as glass?
Warren Dew
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Joined: Mar 04, 2004
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    2
Jeroen Wenting:

A single transatlantic flight does not produce more CO2 than all UK cars in a year, that's a deliberately lie on the part of leftwing greens who want people to stay where they're put which means restricting traffic (and using the environment as an excuse is just soooo easy).

They actually claimed that? I worked out the math, and it turns out they are off by more than a factor of 170,000. I think it's very unfortunate if the European Greens are really making such ridiculous claims as this, as they tend to discredit the real environmentalists. On the other hand, I think it's not realistic to believe that fossil fuel contributions to the carbon cycle are ignorable, either. While large volcanic eruptions do emit large quantities of CO2, they don't happen every year.

----

For what it's worth, here's the math on the "airliner" claim. I found at www.fhwa.dot.gov/ohim/hs97/in3.pdf that there were 21,092,000 automobiles in the U.K. in 1996.

Assuming each automobile driven 10,000 km/year, getting fuel mileage of 11 km/l (about 30 mpg) that's 900 liters of fuel per vehicle, or a total of about 18,982,800,000 liters of fuel per year.

The largest passenger airliner in service, the 747-400, has a fuel capacity of 216,840 liters. It has a range of 12,200 km, which is about twice what's necessary to make a transatlantic flight.

http://www.science.edu.sg/ssc/detailed.jsp?artid=1636&type=6&root=3&parent=3&cat=25

That means that the maximum amount of fuel consumed by a passenger airliner for a transatlantic flight is about 108,000 liters. In other words, it would take more than 170,000 maximally sized transatlantic flights to consume as much fuel as all the automobiles in the UK consume in a year (and there are probably more autos there now than in 1996, too).

On the other hand:

In fact, air travel is by far the cleanest form of long distance transportation (barring sailing ships, but I doubt you want back to the times when it took weeks to cross the Atlantic even with good winds).

This is not true either, though it's not nearly as far off. Modern U.S. gasoline powered automobiles, which emit very little other than carbon dioxide and water vapor pollute less per passenger mile if comparably full. Working out the above numbers, a full 747-400 with a 421 seats consumes about 40cc of fuel per passenger mile, while a full Volkswagon Jetta with 5 seats consumes only about 18cc of fuel per passenger mile and emits proportionately less carbon dioxide. The airliner is only significantly cleaner on a per passenger mile basis if the automobile is limited to carrying only one passenger at a time (which admittedly happens a lot). Gasoline powered buses meeting U.S. emissions guidelines would also be cleaner than airliners per passenger. Electric trains should also be cleaner in terms of CO2 production, though as you point out, other pollutants would depend on the source of the electricity.

For cargo, ships are by far the most fuel efficient form of transport, and thus the best in terms of minimizing CO2 emissions - though again, some ships may not be so good in terms of other emissions.
Helen Thomas
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Originally posted by Thomas Paul:


Are you sure?

http://www.snopes.com/photos/isabel.asp

Big giveaway... how could the ocean that close to be a hurricane be as smooth as glass?


Oops! Fell for that. Another big giveaway, there aren't similar pictures of hurricanes on the internet.
There have been recent recordings of 80ft high waves in the Atlantic. Tsunamis seem to occur in the Pacific only.
[ August 23, 2004: Message edited by: Helen Thomas ]
Helen Thomas
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Do we need wind farms when there are hurricanes ?

The best hopes of reaching Kyoto targets for reducing CO2 emissions but don't generate enough energy on the ground. A better bet than nuclear energy until they come up with a safer way to treat and store nuclear waste. Public opinion is swinging back in favour of nuclear power 'cos people don't like the ruin of the countryside.

I won't be surprised if Leonardo da Vinci dreamt up and designed a great big wind turbine in the sky. He is credited with designing the first self propelled car and other modern innovations.


And apparently peat bogs emit more CO2 than human fossil burning but the peat bogs won't be if it weren't for human fossil fuel consumption.
Complex,eh ?

Remember to avoid using peat based products like... peat.13% of harvested peat is used for horticulture the �rest� is burned to produce electricity.
Jeroen Wenting
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Posts: 5093
Wind generators are actually very bad for the environment.
I worked at an energy research facility and we did the math.
Turned out a wind turbine needs to run at peak capacity for 15 years straight to recover the expense of production (materials, transportation of parts, etc. etc.) and line losses.
A coal fired plant needs to run 7 years (taking into account the coal burned including mining and transportation).

Wind turbines also cause quite dramatic climate changes in their vicinity, including local changes in rainfall and temperature and changes in wind patterns.
They're also the documented cause for massive deaths of birds that get killed when hit by them (this caused a ruling that several large groups here have to be turned off during the migration season for example).
Last year we were also unpleasantly surprised when during the hottest summer in decades there was also no wind. With demand at its highest ever the wind turbines which now provide some 8% of our electricity (if and when they work) were all sitting idle producing nothing.
The emergency solution in such cases is to import electricity (nuclear power, reliable) from France but they had their own heatwave and could not match demand either...

Solar is worst, there you NEVER get the expense out of it. The materials making up the solar cell require massive amounts of energy to produce and the cells themselves don't live long enough to recover that investment...

As to nuclear, if the greens hadn't blocked research and deployment of breeders and other advanced reactors (not to mention the ban on refining nuclear waste materials) nuclear plants would produce only a fraction on the waste (which is already a small amount), and that waste could be easily refined into storage categories with the bulk being safe after a short period (years or decades at the most) for further processing as chemical waste (and important components for industry and medical use could be refined from it, including metals and radiological tracers).

It's estimated that with full efficiency of waste product use and reuse the amount of waste to be stored indefinitely (meaning for more than current shortterm storage requirements) from an average reactor would be reduced to a few hundred kilos a year at most (meaning a few barrels per reactor).

If R&D into nuclear fusion is pumped up (greens don't want that) that could provide a clean cheap source of energy (which greens don't want as it would remove any validity to their claims that people should use no energy).
Thomas Paul
mister krabs
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It isn't quite fair to compare solar and wind to other forms of energy. These have gotten little public funding (as opposed to the billions put into the nuclear industry) and because of low demand they haven't been able to take advantage of economies of scale. Solar power has a 20 year payoff rate, but that will get better with new breakthroughs in solar cells. Wind power is steadily improving with off-shore wind turbines being the wave of the future. The current cost for wind generated power is between 3 and 5 cents per kilowatt hour which is slightly more expensive than traditional technologies.

http://www.lioffshorewindenergy.org/index.html
Warren Dew
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Jeroen Wenting:

Wind generators are actually very bad for the environment.
I worked at an energy research facility and we did the math.
Turned out a wind turbine needs to run at peak capacity for 15 years straight to recover the expense of production (materials, transportation of parts, etc. etc.) and line losses.
A coal fired plant needs to run 7 years (taking into account the coal burned including mining and transportation).


That doesn't show they are bad for the environment - just bad economically. And with interest rates lower, the economics might change to favor the more capital intensive approach - in this case, wind farms, which have less in the way of ongoing fuel costs.

I used to work in the energy industry, and did some wind energy siting studies in the Boston area. There were tremendous variations in economic suitability of different sites, depending on the presence or absence of steady winds with the desired speeds. The best sites from an economic point of view unfortunately turned out to have the biggest public relations problems, because of "visual pollution" concerns - places which are exposed to a good wind also tend to be exposed to view, and nearby property owners don't like their view being changed.

In the U.S., bird deaths have not been a big problem with wind farms - maybe we have different wind turbine designs, or maybe we've managed to avoid migration routes. Local weather effects, primarily a reduction in average wind speeds in certain areas, do occur, but at least they are localized and not global.

As to nuclear, if the greens hadn't blocked research and deployment of breeders and other advanced reactors (not to mention the ban on refining nuclear waste materials) nuclear plants would produce only a fraction on the waste (which is already a small amount)

Even without further research, nuclear power is far more environmentally friendly than coal or other fossil fuel plants. I used to be a nuclear engineer - before that industry tanked in the 1980s - and the reason I chose that field of study was specifically because of nuclear power's environmental friendliness. I think wind is fine on the limited number of suitable sites, but it won't solve the bulk of our energy problems. I'd be happy to support solar if it ever becomes economically feasible - though like wind power, it has some dependability problems (e.g., on cloudy days). But given the technology we have today, anyone truly interested in protecting the environment should be supporting nuclear power to replace coal and oil plants.
Frank Silbermann
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[ August 28, 2004: Message edited by: Max Habibi ]
Jeroen Wenting
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[ August 28, 2004: Message edited by: Max Habibi ]
Helen Thomas
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Florida is about to experience a boom because of Hurricane Charley.
It happened after Hurricane Andrew and is set to happen again. Every damaged house, trashed car and all lost property will be converted into mountains of cash from insurance claims. All thta money will be poured into cash registers
construction company bank accounts , rebuilding to a far higher standard than before - the Jacuzzi effect.
Florida being a swing state in the race will draw even more money.

Can't say the same for Darfur unfortunately.
Helen Thomas
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The sunshine state is about to be hit again.
This time by first by Tropical Storm Gaston, carrying 40-mph (64-kph) winds, expected to hit South Carolina coast on Sunday ; Hurricane Frances at 115 km/h is still out at sea but moving in.

Just like a weather reporter I'm telling you what you already know/are experiencing.The British summer is bad to gloomy. It's actually the greenest summer in recent years. No scorched lawns.

Cool Flash interactive: How hurricanes work
[ August 28, 2004: Message edited by: Helen Thomas ]
Thomas Paul
mister krabs
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Actually, the Sunshine State is safe from Gaston. South Carolina and North Carolina will be hit. Gaston will then head north, perhaps along the coast.
Helen Thomas
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Thanks Thomas.My post should have mentioned north Florida would potentially be affected. But Carolinas it is.

I don't remember anything particularly inflammatory about either Frank's or Jeroen's post. I thought they were very informative as nuclear fuels are now an option once more.
[ August 29, 2004: Message edited by: Helen Thomas ]
Helen Thomas
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But while Frances was heading out of Florida, residents had started keeping a wary eye on yet another storm. Ivan, the fifth hurricane of the year, had sustained wind of near 105 mph and was centered 210 miles southeast of Barbados in the central Atlantic. Forecasters weren't sure whether it would hit the United States, but Floridians are fed up after contending with Frances and Charley over the past month.

After Frances in FLA
[ September 07, 2004: Message edited by: Helen Thomas ]
 
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subject: Hurricanes