Frances Lashes Bahamas, Aims for Florida

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Hurricane Frances is now slashing its way through the central and western Bahamas, bearing down on Florida.

Frances is now centered very near the tip of Great Abaco in the Bahamas. Movement is west-northwest at about nine miles an hour, with a west-northwest or northwest motion expected to continue. Forward speed is also expected to decrease further.

Top sustained winds are at about 115 miles an hour, with fluctuation expected by Florida landfall. Hurricane-force winds still extend out 85 miles from center, with tropical storm-force winds out 185 miles.

Forecasters look for a storm surge of five to ten feet along and hear where Frances makes landfall Saturday in Florida. Rainfall amounts of seven to 12 inches, with some spots getting 20 inches, are also expected.

The current forecast track shows the center of Frances at the Florida/Georgia line by early Monday morning. The center of the forecast track shows landfall between West Palm Beach and the Spacecoast, though that forecast could vary quite a bit by actual landfall itself.

Frances centered at latitude 25.7 north, longitude 77.2 west.