Florida declares 'state of emergency', Hurricane Dennis category 4 storm

Friday, July 8, 2005

Florida braces for the arrival of Hurricane Dennis as governor Jeb Bush announced a state of emergency on a televised press conference Friday afternoon at 2:00 EST. Dennis weakened slightly after making landfall in Cuba and now packs sustained winds of 145 miles per hour. Thousands have fled the Florida Keys under a mandatory evacuation order where the storm is expected to strike sometime this evening.

The storm wobbled slightly after arriving in Cuba where it claimed up to three lives. Ham radio operators reported that most power lines are down in the province of Cienfuegos, where a major seaport is located on Cuba's southern coast.

According to Reuters, 18 lives were claimed by the storm in Haiti yesterday when it passed over that island nation.

Storm track
Source:National Hurricane Center

The storm is expected to continue on a north-westerly path that will brush the southern tip of Florida and head up the state's Gulf of Mexico coastline, where warm gulf waters could fuel the storm and raise it to a Category 5 storm.

Speculation has begun on the possibility of higher gas prices as gulf oil refineries are threatened.

Hurricane Dennis comes quickly on the heels of 3-day ago Tropical Storm Cindy, in what is noted as record storm activity for this early in the hurricane season.