Hurricane Frances whipped off roofs, felled trees and cut power to about 4 million people in Florida on Sunday as the huge and powerful storm lumbered over the state with ferocious winds and sheets of rain.
The hurricane was so large and slow-moving that its western outer edges had begun arriving on the east coast on Saturday morning and by Sunday morning its eastern edges were still pounding the coast from which 2.5 million people had been told to flee.
In Florida's central Atlantic coast counties, blinding rain squalls drove clouds of sand into the air while huge whitecaps thundered onto the beaches. Palm trees rained coconuts and then toppled over.
Aluminum sidings peeled off buildings and boats were ripped from their moorings and smashed, informs Reuters.
"I was just waiting for the house to blow down," said Diane Wright, who rode out the storm in a mobile home in Fort Pierce.
Hers didn't. But even shelters weren't spared: The roof at a school housing evacuees was partially blown off.
Initial reports of destruction didn't rival the estimated $7.4 billion in insured damage caused by Hurricane Charley in southwest Florida three weeks ago. Frances' path overlapped with some of the area hit by Charley, which killed 27 people, reports San Diego Union Tribune.
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