Hurricane Jeanne Leaves Swath of Destruction; Relief Workers at the Ready

Hurricane Jeanne tore a fresh path of destruction and despair as it finished its march Monday up storm-ravaged Florida, where the fourth major hurricane in six weeks shut down much of the state and prompted recovery plans on a scale never before seen in...


Jeanne was a Category 3 hurricane when it made landfall at Hutchinson Island, 35 miles north of West Palm Beach - almost the same spot that Frances struck.

Once inland, the 400-mile wide storm stretched across the state, passing northeast of Tampa and moving east of the Panhandle. Officials at the National Hurricane Center in Miami said the similar paths of Jeanne and Frances were possibly unprecedented so close in time.

At least 21 Florida county school districts canceled classes on Monday, including St. Lucie County, which has not reopened since Frances struck.

Police in St. Lucie rescued five families when the hurricane's eye passed over late Saturday, including a wheelchair-bound couple in their 90s whose mobile home collapsed around them, emergency operations spokeswoman Linette Trabulsy said.

A Coast Guard helicopter crew found two fishermen who had radioed a mayday after failing to reach port Sunday in their vessel, The Rogue. The men were rescued early Monday from a liferaft off Anclote Key, about 25 miles northwest of Tampa. They were examined by medical personnel and released, officials said.

At Cape Canaveral, the third hurricane to hit NASA's spaceport in just over a month blew out more panels and left more gaping holes in the massive shuttle assembly building.

The toll from the latest storm extended as far north as Daytona Beach and south to Miami, where one person was electrocuted after touching a downed power line. Two people died when their sport utility vehicle plunged into a lake south of Boca Raton.

A 15-year-old boy was pinned by a falling tree Sunday and died in Clay County southwest of Jacksonville. And in Brevard County, a man was found dead in a ditch in what police called an apparent drowning. In nearby Micco, a 60-year-old man was found dead after a hurricane party at a home. He was found lying in water after the house had flooded; police said the death may be alcohol-related or the man may have drowned.

``I never want to go through this again,'' said 8-year-old Katie Waskiewicz, who checked out the fallen trees and broken roof tiles in her Palm Beach Gardnes neighborhood after bearing the storm with her family. ``I was running around the house screaming.''

With Jeanne dumping heavy rain, there was fear of flooding in the days to come from swollen rivers in east and central Florida, already saturated by two previous hurricanes.

Most counties in South Carolina's northeast corner were under a flood watch, and the U.S. Weather Service placed much of southern Georgia under a tornado watch. Some school districts in both states called off classes Monday.

Earlier, Jeanne tore across the Bahamas, leaving some neighborhoods under 6 feet of water. The storm caused flooding in Haiti that killed more than 1,500 people.