Florida Braces for Storms

8-12-04 - KEY WEST, Fla. (AP) Authorities have ordered the evacuation of mobile homes in the lower Florida Keys. That is the latest safeguard being taken as Hurricane Charley approaches. Yesterday, they ordered all tourists to leave the Keys.

Hurricane conditions are expected by early tomorrow for the Keys and the southwestern Florida coast.

The other storm threatening the state, Tropical Storm Bonnie, got weaker overnight, but could still bring flooding to the Panhandle. A steady rain is already falling in the area.

Hurricane Charley is packing winds of 85 miles an hour. But forecaster Ed Rappaport of the National Hurricane Center says it could strengthen by the time it makes landfall. He says the winds could be stronger than 100 miles an hour, and there could be a storm surge of as much as ten feet.

In the meantime, it's expected to pass over western Cuba on its path toward Florida.