-- Ivan's second foray into the
United States came with little wind but plenty of rain Friday,
while Floridians braced for another pounding as Hurricane Jeanne
geared up for a possible weekend landing
After looping into the Atlantic
and back into the Gulf of Mexico following its initial strike on
the Alabama-Florida coast as a hurricane last week, Ivan washed
ashore as a tropical storm near the Texas-Louisiana line. Parts
of southwestern Louisiana received as much as 8 inches of rain,
and Jefferson County in Texas received between 3 and 3.5 inches
in a four-hour period.
The three-week-old system was
downgraded to a tropical depression early Friday and continued
to weaken. Its center was about 10 miles north of Livingston,
with sustained winds of 10 to 15 mph.
By Friday morning, much of the
heavy rain had subsided. Conditions in Houston were partly
cloudy and about 81 degrees, said Chuck Frazier, Orange County's
emergency management director.
"It's beautiful here right now,"
Florida residents had that
oh-no-not-again feeling as nearly 100-mph Hurricane Jeanne
appeared to be zeroing in this weekend for what would be the
state's fourth thrashing this season.
Jeanne has already been blamed
for at least 1,100 flooding deaths in Haiti. At 11 a.m. EDT,
Jeanne was about 290 miles east of Great Abaco Island in the
northwestern Bahamas and moving west at 9 mph. It was expected
to reach Florida by Sunday, according to the National Hurricane
Center in Miami. It had top sustained winds of 100 mph, down
about 5 mph from a day earlier.
Some projections showed the
storm hitting central Florida and then moving up the coast to
North Carolina by Tuesday. The National Hurricane Center issued
a hurricane watch Friday morning for portions of the Florida
"It's time for Floridians to
seriously pay attention," said Eric Blake, a meteorologist at
the hurricane center.
Girding for the storm, Kennedy
Space Center director James Kennedy ordered the base closed to
all nonessential personnel on Friday. NASA's spaceport is still
trying to repair damage caused by Frances and Charley.
In all, four tropical weather
systems were churning Thursday.
Hurricane Ivan broke up after
hitting the United States, but a piece of it spun back and
reformed in the Gulf of Mexico as a minimal tropical storm.
Meanwhile, Hurricane Karl stayed
on an open-ocean course with 80 mph winds that threatened only
ships, while tropical depression Lisa moved slowly far out in
The hurricane season ends Nov.