Florida’s hurricane-ravaged peninsula
may be spared the full force of Hurricane Ivan, forecasters predicted.
Maps from the National Hurricane Center
and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration now show that the storm
is more likely to hit the United States near the Florida-Alabama border.
However, “wobbles” in the storm’s
center have changed Ivan’s path several times during the past few days, and
forecasters did place the Florida Keys under a tropical storm watch. Landfall
in the United States is predicted for sometime Thursday, someplace between
Louisiana and the Florida panhandle.
Also, even if the eye of the storm
misses the main body of Florida, the portion of the storm with hurricane force
winds – sustained speeds of at least 74 mph – is now roughly 210 miles wide,
with tropical storm force winds cover an area up to 400 miles wide.
Therefore, if Ivan even passes near
Florida but remains at sea, portions of the state could experience
Some residents of the Keys, which were
evacuated Friday, started to return to their homes Monday, Sept. 13. The
National Weather Service said the tropical storm warning for the islands could
be lifted soon.