Thursday, October 7, 2004

'We still haven't had that nightmare scenario ...': "Four hurricanes strike Florida in six weeks, killing scores, causing widespread destruction and forcing the most massive emergency response in federal history. It's hard to imagine things being any worse. Yet that is exactly what keeps National Hurricane Center director Max Mayfield awake at night."

"The nightmare he envisions doesn't involve multiple hurricanes. Just one, a sleepy little thing born off the coast of Africa that sputters within range of Florida at nightfall, as people are turning off their TV sets and heading to bed.

"Then, during the night, it intensifies rapidly and abruptly changes course. As dawn approaches, Florida awakens to a monster hurricane, barreling toward a populace that is completely unprepared.

"'We still haven't had that nightmare scenario where people go to bed prepared for a Category 1 hurricane and wake up to a Category 4,' Mayfield says. 'That's going to happen one of these days, and it's going to be devastating.'"

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