Dennis: Could've Been Worse

A sailboat rides out the wind and rain from Hurricane Dennis in Daphne, Ala. on the Eastern shore of Mobile Bay Sunday July 10, 2005. Hurricane Dennis closed in on the Gulf Coast on Sunday with battering waves and high wind after strengthening into a dangerous storm, roaring toward a region still patching up damage from a hurricane 10 months ago. (AP Photo/Bill Haber)
AP
With a sigh of relief, Gulf Coast residents began hurricane cleanup again as Sunday with less force than anticipated, sparing the region the destruction caused by Ivan last September.

Floodwater inundated a fishing village and miles of a Panhandle coastal highway. More than 550,000 customers in four states were left without power, and some could be out for three weeks or more, officials said. But hours after landfall, officials reported little major structural damage.

As CBS News Correspondent Jim Acosta reports, after bracing themselves for devastation, many across the Florida panhandle found deliverance after homeowners saw their worries and not their houses blown away.

Washed out by Hurricane Ivan ten months ago, the Lillo's were overjoyed to see their home as they left it.

"Hallelujah, I still have my house," said Lisa Lillo. "Oh thank the Lord our prayers were answered."

But, as Acosta reports, Sam Johnson wasn't so lucky.

He was living out of a FEMA-provided trailer while making repairs on his Ivan-damaged home.

Now, he's homeless again.

"I can't live in the house, can't live in the trailer," Johnson said.

He said he plans to live in his van until I can get it set up for my family to come back.

By 5 a.m., Dennis had weakened to a tropical depression over northeast Mississippi with 35 mph winds and forecasters warned it could dump up to 15 centimeters of rain and result in some tornadoes as it moved north.

Dennis caused an estimated $1 billion to $2.5 billion in insured damage in the United States, according to AIR Worldwide Corp. of Boston, an insurance risk modeling company.

Michael Brown, director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, said Monday that while damage wasn't as widespread as expected, the storm was still devastating to those whose homes were damaged.

Brown said

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"We want to make certain that those who perhaps didn't evacuate, that are still in damaged neighborhoods, that they have the things they need to survive, that they have meals ready to eat, that they have water, that they have a place to sleep," Brown said Monday on CBS News' The Early Show.

"Our objective is to make certain we save people's lives, let them sustain their life, let them get their feet back on the ground, so they can start rebuilding their lives," Brown said.