Florida hurricane kills two

Hurricane Katrina toppled trees, whipped up the surf and left more than a million customers without power as it struck Florida's densely populated southeastern coast. Two people were killed by falling trees.

Rain fell in horizontal sheets, seas were estimated at 15 feet (4.5 meters) and wind gusted to 92 mph (148 kph), toppling trees and street signs. Florida Power & Light said the vast majority of people without electricity were in Miami-Dade and Broward counties.

The storm made landfall Thursday along the Miami-Dade and Broward line between Hallandale Beach and North Miami Beach. Weather officials said flooding was the main concern as the storm dropped 10 inches (25 centimeters) of rain in Key Biscayne.

Pravda.ru reported earlier, that late Thursday, Katrina had weakened slightly to 75 mph (120 kph) and was about 20 miles (30 kilometers) northwest of Homestead in Miami-Dade County, heading southwest at 8 mph (13 kph). An estimated 5.9 million Florida residents were in Katrina's projected path.

"The message needs to be very clear. It's not a good night to be out driving around," National Hurricane Center director Max Mayfield was quoted as saying by the AP. "The back side of the core of the hurricane has yet to come. It's not over yet."

A hurricane warning was issued for the southeast Florida coast from Jupiter Inlet south to Florida City, as well as inland Lake Okeechobee. A tropical storm warning was issued for all the Florida Keys, from Florida City around the peninsula to Longboat Key on the west coast, and from Jupiter Inlet north to Vero Beach on the east coast.

Katrina is the 11th named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season, which began June 1. That's seven more than have typically formed by now in the Atlantic, Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico, the hurricane center said. The season ends Nov. 30.

Photo by Reuters.

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