Arlene churns closer

Voluntary evacuations were urged for more than 50,000 people on the Gulf Coast as Tropical Storm Arlene churned closer to the U.S. on Saturday. Landfall was expected by Saturday evening.

BY SUSAN KIM | BALTIMORE | June 11, 2005


Voluntary evacuations were urged for more than 50,000 people on the Gulf Coast as Tropical Storm Arlene churned closer to the U.S. on Saturday. Landfall was expected by Saturday evening.

Though shelters were opened, most officials reported only a few dozen residents came.

Arlene - with 70-mph sustained winds on Saturday morning - could become a hurricane before making landfall. The storm was moving toward the northwest at 18 mph. Tropical storm-force winds extend up to 160 miles from the stormís center, and the heaviest wind and rain will occur east of the stormís center.

A coastal storm surge 3-5 feet above normal tide was expected, and residents could also 8-12 inches of rain. Isolated tornadoes could also occur in southern Alabama, southwestern Georgia, the Florida Panhandle, and northwestern Florida.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) sent response liaisons to Florida, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana.

People who live in mobile homes, manufactured housing and travel trailers - including those provided by FEMA to last yearís hurricane survivors - were urged to evacuate.

In the Florida Panhandle, residents were concerned about piles of debris left over from Hurricane Ivan, as well as gutted buildings that could be blown down by Arlene. Storm-damaged roofs are still covered by blue tarps.

Florida Gov. Jeb Bush declared a state of emergency Friday.

Though turnout at shelters was low, clergy and other responders were still concerned that people - still traumatized by last yearís storms - would need emotional support as the seasonís first storm hits.

The Salvation Army was among several groups preparing to meet peopleís emergency needs. Salvation Army disaster relief teams in the Florida Panhandle were prepared for an immediate response. Salvation Army crews had 5,000 cleanup kits ready to distribute.


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Atlantic storm morphs into Javier

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More hurricanes predicted in '16


More links on Tropical Storms

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