Disastrous hurricane season winds up

Nov. 29, 2004 at 12:05 PM

MIAMI, Nov. 29 (UPI) -- Long-range forecasters say we may never again see a hurricane season like the one that ends Tuesday.

Florida was hit by four destructive hurricanes over a six-week period, although one of them hit just across the border in Alabama while raining most of its misery on the Florida Panhandle.

Property damage in Florida has been estimated at $42 billion from Hurricanes Charley, Frances, Ivan and Jeanne. An estimated 65,000 homes were either destroyed or suffered major damage and 41,000 people were left homeless.

Deaths from the four storms totaled 117 in Florida, and it was much, much worse in the Caribbean where at estimated 3,000 were killed, more than two thirds of them in Haiti.

"This year has been a once-in-lifetime kind of year," says the nation's most quoted long-range forecaster, Professor William Gray of Colorado State University.

"Although Floridians should always be prepared for landfalling hurricanes, they should not expect what we have experienced this year to become the norm for future years," he said.

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