Ivan's Remnants Soak South

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As Hurricane Ivan's remnants soaked the South on Friday and left a trail of destruction from the Gulf Coast to the Carolinas, Floridians once again are coping, cleaning up and coming together after being pummeled by a third devastating storm in five weeks.

Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Jeanne tore through the Dominican Republic on Friday with fierce winds that triggered mudslides, collapsed concrete walls and forced thousands to evacuate. The storm, which has killed six across the Caribbean, is expected to become a hurricane over the Bahamas and then head for Florida.

The storm was projected to graze the southern Bahamas and there was a chance that Florida, already battered by back-to-back storms, could feel Jeanne's effects by Sunday.

Tropical Storm Karl is still out over the Atlantic, but posing a threat to nothing but shipping. The longer-term forecast for Karl shows it remaining over open water. Forecasters look for it to eventually turn more to the north.

The trio of hurricanes have left virtually all of Florida a disaster area, and the recovery from Ivan has been complicated by widespread power outages, washed-out roads and bridges, and ongoing gas shortages. In some areas, emergency workers had to be flown in by helicopters, and authorities said it could take weeks to restore water, power and sewer services in parts of the hard-hit Panhandle.

CBS News Correspondent Mark Strassmann reports 300,000 people could be without power, drinking water and sewer for up to three weeks.

"You've got to take the bad with the good," said 42-year-old Tracie Stitt, who stood in a pile of cinderblock and tile that once was the home she and her husband shared with her in-laws near Perdido Bay.

"If you live in California it'd be earthquakes, if you live in Kansas it'd be tornadoes, up north it's snowstorms," she said. "There's not a perfect place on earth. You've just got to take your losses and pray and go on."

Ivan was the deadliest hurricane to hit the United States since Floyd in 1999. In all, the hurricane was blamed for 70 deaths in the Caribbean and at least 35 in the United States, 14 of them in Florida.

All over the south, trees are down, roads are washed out, and the death toll from Ivan continues to mount. CBS News Correspondent Lee Cowan reports at least 8 new deaths were reported in North Carolina alone.

The storm struck at a time when Florida is still reeling from Hurricanes Charley and Frances. Charley ravaged the state's west coast five weeks ago, while Frances pounded the east over Labor Day weekend.

Insurance experts put Ivan's damage at anywhere from $3 billion to $10 billion. Hurricanes Charley and Frances had combined estimated insured damages between about $11 billion and $13 billion.

Hurricane Ivan damaged or destroyed hundreds of homes and forced people to endure long lines and long detours throughout the Panhandle.

In Milton, Fla., George Campbell sat in traffic on Highway 90 — backed up for miles with people desperate to get ice and water. He was trying to remain relaxed after an hour and a half of creeping toward the distribution point for a couple bags of ice and a few bottles of water.

From Gulf Shores to Orange Beach, Ala., Ivan's 16-foot storm surge leveled everything in its path. Swimming pools were lifted from their foundations. Boats tossed into backyards, reports Cowan from Mobile.

"There are going to be short fuses," he said looking at the line of cars and the prison convicts and Air National Guardsmen struggling in the heat to quickly hand out the relief items. "People are generally good, but when things like this happen, they fall apart."

Kathryn Johnson didn't wait in line for the ice or water and was fighting her emotions.

"I can't afford to waste my gas sitting in this line," she said. With no power, there were no open gas stations for miles.

Ivan weakened after coming ashore with 130 mph winds early Thursday, but it continued to spin off tornadoes and cause flooding across the South, already soggy after Charley and Frances. More than a million people were without power across eight states.

Up to 9 inches of rain fell on parts of Georgia. Retired banker Jon Birts and his wife, Dianne, fled their home along the Coosawattee River with their cat, Sparky, and drove to higher ground. They had to abandon their truck when floodwaters swirled around them.

"When we stepped out, we realized the truck must have been floating because the water was over our heads, so we started swimming as hard as we could," Jon said. "I can swim in an Olympic pool five times across, but I could not swim out of there."

With only the headlamps of their sinking pickup truck to guide them, the couple eventually grabbed hold of a propane tank floating along with debris until a passing driver helped them to safety. Dianne had to let go of the cat's cage to survive.

"All of these material things I'm thinking about floating down the river don't mean a hill of beans," she said. "I do miss my kitty, though."

Among those flooded out of their homes was a 1,000-pound alligator that disappeared from a small coastal zoo in Alabama. The 14-foot gator, named Chucky, was one of nine believed to have gotten out of the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo during flooding, said zoo general manager Kate Ramon.

"We keep Chucky well fed, so he's normally not dangerous. But he's out now and he's dangerous. We've got to find him," she said.

Gov. Jeb Bush encountered some anger and frustration during a tour of Pensacola's civic center, which was sheltering about 800 evacuees. Robert Cross, 93, wearing a patch over one eye, interrupted Bush to complain that people have no water.

"People are going to have to be patient," Bush said.

"You can't be patient without water," Cross said.

By midmorning Friday, a line stretched out the door of the Family Foods Market off Pensacola's Gulf Beach Highway, with residents waiting to buy soda, water and snacks.

David and Melinda Hastings were hoping for a few packs of cigarettes. The couple, who have lived in Pensacola most of their lives, admitted the hurricane three-peat was wearing on them.

"I've been here since '71 — and I'm sick of it," said David Hastings, 33, who works for a towing company. He spent 23 days in the St. Petersburg area helping clean up from Charley. He returned a week ago only to find himself in the midst of another monster storm.

The state was praying that Ivan would be the last of the devastation. Out in the Atlantic, Tropical Storm Jeanne churned on a track toward landfall next week in the southeastern United States and, possibly, Florida.
  • Lloyd Vries

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