South Florida Cleans Up, But Second Landfall Could Be Worse

Utility crews are scrambling to restore power to more than one million customers Friday in south Florida as Hurricane Katrina threatens the state with an encore visit.

Katrina nudging along at eight miles per hour in the Gulf of Mexico, forecasters say the category 2 hurricane could become a category 4 storm, which means winds as high as 130 miles per hour and hit the western Panhandle as early as Monday.

Florida has been hit by six hurricanes since last August, and the Panhandle was slammed by Hurricane Ivan last year, and then again by Hurricane Dennis this year. Both of those were Category 3 storms.

Gov. Jeb Bush has asked for federal disaster assistance for Miami-Dade and Broward counties, where some residents said they were caught off guard by the gathering storm.

The hurricane was expected to hit Fort Lauderdale, but it veered southwest at the last moment and tore a path across Miami-Dade County to the south where most people had decided not to put up hurricane shutters.


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