SEPT. 4, '04: Hurricane Frances Nails Florida's Treasure Coast


Frances hangs off the FL coast at noon on Saturday, September a much weakened state (strong CAT-2). What happened??
(Image from NASA MODIS Rapid Response Gallery)

Our route on Saturday is shown with the blue dashed line. We stayed at the Crossroads Motel that evening.

Saturday morning, Ft. Pierce FL. Doug Kiesling hams it up in his day-glow orange rain ponce and vehicle, which was helpfully labeled "TV"

The Ft. Pierce Marina feeling the effects of Tropical Storm force winds.

George being crazy again, on the Ft. Pierce barrier island.

Scott really likes those hand gestures! Well, at least he looks happy. :)

An aptly-named grill on the far side of the barrier island.

At another marina on the barrier island, Mark & George attempt wind measurements during a convective squall.

What a gust! I don't know what he measured, but it sure looked like 80-90 mph.

The storm surge begins to lap at the picnic benches at local beachfront park.

We move over to the other side of the island, where there's a mobile home park....yes, a mobile home park on a *barrier island*!! I think these folks are asking for disaster...

A piece of roof gets ripped off this mobile home.

The same home a few minutes later, viewed from the causeway.

A little further up the road, was this home, which was about to lose the rear enclosed deck.

Scott Blair & Marcie Martin were here too.

The storm surge gets a little higher. This was about as bad as it got while we were there.

Neat view from underneath the causeway. This is looking back west towards Ft. Pierce.

We ran into Mike Theiss as well.

Not wanting to get the same shots all day, and since the hurricane was moving so SLOOWLY, we went down US1 a ways towards Stuart.

We watched as this Buick sign snapped off and bounced off a new truck. Ouch!

At a north-facing inlet in Stuart.

Some good generic hurricane footage.

We tried to get to another viewpoint, but were blocked by many downed trees.

Trying to conserve precious gas, we headed back to the motel in Ft. Pierce. There was already damage in town.

Around 9pm, the western eyewall slammed ashore, with 90-100mph winds and nearly continuous power flashes.

These would light up the night sky.

Who needs realtime satellite data? The TV stations were doing a great job! This is from my portable TV.

That's us...Ft. Pierce, about to get nailed! Frances was creeping northwest at around 3-5mph.

Here's the crew huddling in a sheltered center hallway on the 2nd floor of the motel. Either end was open to the wind, so we could watch, listen and film. The sound was incredible! What a perfect video location!

The eye passed over around 2am, so we slept...for about 6 hours! The eastern eyewall hit around 8am the next morning, right after breakfast. :)

The roof from this trailer kept slamming around....

...until it finally ripped free and wrapped itself around that metal light standard.

Next Page: The Aftermath (Sept. 5 & 6) --->