Ivan now predicted to hit near Alabama-Florida border

| Monday, September 13, 2004

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 hurricane-force winds.

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.

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