Cleaning up after Frances, the approach of Ivan
My parents are cleaning up after Frances. Knocked down trees and no power for days. My brother is still without power and likely will be for at least a couple more days. For those of you not from South Florida, lacking power in this situation doesn't just mean no internet. No, it means that your house is one giant convection oven, as temperatures creep into the mid 90's (which is incidentally also the humidity), and your aluminum shutters (which you're of course leaving on even after the hurricane because another is on the way) make your house a cave of heatwave death. They were also without phone lines (land or cell) for a number of days, but finally (at least for my parents) all has been restored (well, except for the downed palm trees, ruined shrubbery and driveway deformations caused by uprooting). As far as I know, my brother still has to figure out how to get half a tree out of his pool. Fortunately the 50-ft. pine tree didn't fall into his master bedroom.
That all said, Hurricane Ivan has grown into a category 4 monster: GOES Water Vapor Atlantic Java Applet Loop, and looking at the current forecast models, I would place the chance of a west coast Florida landfall at 60-70%. Remember, what they show you on television is usually simply a global concensus, derived largely from the National Hurricane Center. The UKMET model is showing a direct hit on Punta Gorda — yes, the exact same place Charley hit on August 13th. The BAMM and BAMD models are showing east coast visits (you've gotta be kidding me!), while two show strikes on Central America. Nearly any way you slice it, Jamaica is about to be obliterated