Ivan Preps

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Along the coast the threat of strong winds and storm surge is real. Folks in Franklin County are starting to take cover. Many have already been forced out of their island homes and onto the highways, seeking higher ground.

People are taking Ivan very seriously. Tuesday there were boarded up homes and businesses all along Highway 98 from Apalachicola to Crawfordville and even up into Tallahassee. Almost everyone is saying they've seen enough destruction for one hurricane season.

It's been an unpredictable, unwanted and unusual summer on St. George Island this year. For vacationers it's a case of bad luck; first Frances, now Ivan. The last two weeks have been a tumultuous ride.

Mimi Finch, a vacationer, says, “It's the first time we've been through evacuations, things like that, it's kind of unsettling.”

It's been 40 years since Florida has seen three hurricanes in one season, but with Hurricane Ivan in the neighborhood, folks here aren't taking any chances.

Doug Brandt, a resident, says, “I walked around the neighborhood and some are boarded up while people who live down here aren't, so I have no way to read this!”

Still, Brandt is erring on the side of safety, hanging metal shutters to block debris at one tourist hot spot where the owner says she'd rather be safe than broke if Ivan strikes.

Debbie Statinos, owner of Island Adventures, adds, “I'm a little nervous this time, the storm surge is concerning.”

That is the same reason emergency officials are clearing out residents, ordering evacuations and school closings until the massive storm makes landfall. The evacuations were ordered on the islands and at Alligator Point Tuesday afternoon at 3 p.m. School has been closed for Wednesday and Thursday throughout Franklin County.