At 1 p.m. EDT, the National Hurricane Center in Miami reported Dennis had 100 mph sustained winds and was located about 355 miles south-southeast of Apalachicola in the Panhandle. It was moving northwest at about 14 mph.
Hurricane-force winds of at least 74 mph extended up to 35 miles from Dennis' center, and tropical storm-force winds stretched up to 175 miles out. Tornadoes, up to 8 inches of rain and storm surges of up to 6 feet were also expected. Flooding was also possible in much of the state because the ground is saturated from recent heavy rains.
The Florida Emergency Information Line (FEIL) for residents needing information regarding Hurricane Dennis is 1-800-342-3557. The toll-free number is available between 8 a.m. and midnight eastern time. Additional information on Hurricane Dennis and the Florida State Emergency Response Team is available online at:
Developments Saturday related to Hurricane Dennis, the fourth storm and first hurricane of the young Atlantic season:
As of Saturday afternoon, 163,600 people remained without power, utility officials said. Florida Power & Light said it has restored power to more than 200,000 people.
Ten people were killed as Hurricane Dennis pummeled Cuba on
its way to Florida, said officials on the island. Earlier, 10 people were reported dead in Haiti from Dennis' passage.
Florida remained under a state of emergency declared by the
More than 700,000 were under evacuation orders in the Florida Keys and the Panhandle, including the coastal resort town of Destin. In southwestern Florida, Collier County urged residents of Naples and other coastal or flood-prone regions to evacuate.
The state reported that 1,500 members of the National Guard had been activated. More than 300 trucks were ready to transport ice, and another 300 were ready to transport water. More than 220 trucks were ready to transport portable generators.
The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
reported 575 complaints of price gouging, with most involving gas prices. Price gouging carries a punishment of a $1,000 fine per incident or $25,000 a day. People with complaints should call 1-800-HELP-FLA.
As of Saturday, there were 9,000 travel trailers in Florida acting as temporary housing for people whose homes were damaged or destroyed by last year's hurricanes, down from a high of 16,000, said Michael Brown, director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Airports in Pensacola and Key West were closed Saturday.
Contractors working on beach restoration projects in Venice and Bradenton had to move and secure dredging equipment ahead of Dennis.
Eglin Air Force Base in Florida was ordered evacuated. Refugee
centers for the evacuees were available for them in Macon and Columbus, Ga.
Sailors and Marines from the Naval Air Technical Training Command at Pensacola were evacuated to Albany, Ga., while officer trainees were taken to shelters at nearby Corry Station. The Naval Aviation museum was closed until further notice.
As a precaution, MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa was evacuating its aircraft to McConnell Air Force Base near Wichita, Kan.
The Lower Keys Medical Center closed.
The space shuttle Discovery remained on the launch pad poised
for Wednesday's liftoff at Cape Canaveral after NASA decided the
shuttle was out of the storm's range.
The Big Cypress National Preserve visitor center in southwestern Florida was closed until at least Sunday, spokesmen said. For more information, the preserve's Web site is www.nps.gov/bicy.
The Florida State League game between the Sarasota Reds and the Vero Beach Dodgers in Sarasota was canceled. The Summit of Speed at Calder Race Course was postponed until Sunday.