Published January 13, 2015
This is a partial transcript from "On the Record," July 8, 2005, that has been edited for clarity.
CLAUDIA COWAN, GUEST HOST: Hurricane Dennis (search) could have catastrophic effects all the way from Key West to Pensacola, Florida. How is each town preparing? Let's check in with the mayor first of Key West, Jimmy Weekley. He joins us by phone. As we take a look at these graphic pictures, not from our country. But what measures are you taking tonight?
JIMMY WEEKLEY, MAYOR OF KEY WEST, FLORIDA: Well, we're prepared. We've got the businesses all closed down at 5 p.m. this afternoon, and most of the residents are off the streets, in their homes. When we issued the evacuation order yesterday, a number of residents did, in fact, start evacuating. And as you know, Key West is at the end of a chain of islands called the Florida Keys. It's a two-lane highway. And reports yesterday were that there was a steady stream of traffic out of Key West, heading north. So it seems that most of our residents and visitors that were here have, in fact, taken heed and evacuated.
COWAN: But as we heard earlier in Julie's report, there have been a number of false alarms. Are people planning for these kinds of disasters? Do they know what they're going to take, for instance? Do they have extra gasoline for their cars?
WEEKLEY: Yes, they started filling up yesterday morning. And you know, the gas companies were able to get extra tankers of gas down to their service stations here in Key West, so we don't have a shortage of gas or anything like that. And you know, people filled up before they left. And once they get to the mainland, obviously, they'll have other opportunities to fill up anywhere, wherever they're heading.
COWAN: You know, Mayor, we've been hearing about sustained winds of 145-plus miles per hour. What is the best case scenario?
WEEKLEY: What we're hearing right now is that we're going to get the eastern quadrant from the storm that will pass over Key West sometime around between midnight and 4:00 o'clock in the morning. And we're expecting somewhere in the neighborhood of about 60-mile-per-hour winds, with gusts maybe up to 80 or 90.
COWAN: And what do you do about the people who are being asked to evacuate but won't?
WEEKLEY: Well, you know, they're in their own homes. We've opened a refuge of last resort that is staffed and ready to go, and if police officers see people on the street and they don't have anywhere to go, we advise them of the location of the refuge of last resort and ask them, you know, to go there.
COWAN: All right. Well, good luck to all of you down there in the Keys.
WEEKLEY: Thank you.
COWAN: Mayor Weekley, thank you.
Now let's head north to Pensacola, Florida, where Hurricane Dennis is projected to make landfall by Sunday. On the phone with us now is the mayor there, John Fogg. Now, you may have a bit more time to prepare. How are you using it?
JOHN FOGG, MAYOR OF PENSACOLA, FLORIDA: Well, I tell you, we are very familiar with the preparations that are required for a storm of this nature, and I'm very comfortable that everybody has done that. You know, all of the things that you usually do: water, non-perishable foods, batteries, gasoline and all that kind of stuff. Generators have sold out up here for the last week or so. It's almost impossible to find one. Filling stations are running out of gasoline on a regular basis, so it's very difficult to stockpile gasoline.
But we all, you know, are all very familiar, especially after Ivan, which was one of the most devastating things that has ever happened to our community. So we're all working together as best we can to try to mitigate the possible impact of this storm.
COWAN: Has there been an evacuation order in Pensacola?
FOGG: The evacuation order began at six o'clock this evening for all low-lying areas and manufactured homes, mobile homes and things of that nature, in the entire county. Of course, Pensacola Beach will be evacuated not later than 6:00 o'clock tomorrow night. And so, yes, we're doing that. As a matter of fact, we've seen the phenomena here in the wake of Ivan, where we have traffic jams of people trying to leave the area even before there's a notice to evacuate.
COWAN: People taking precautions. I'm wondering, though, isn't there more that can be done? You know, these evacuation pictures that we're looking at are heart-breaking to watch. I can hardly imagine the headache it must be to endure. Is it better building codes, better enforced building codes that people -- so we don't have to have these evacuations every time, so people can stay in their homes?
FOGG: Well, you know, since 1994, when Hurricane Andrew hit Homestead, just south of Miami, the state of Florida modified all of their building codes, and now homes that have been constructed since then meet all of the newest hurricane standards. But the homes that were built prior to that do not. And so you know, I'm comfortable that we're doing everything that we can in the state of Florida to make our homes as survivable as possible. I mean, the whole state of Florida is obviously in a hurricane-prone area and...
COWAN: Mayor, I'm sorry, I've got to cut you off. You're right, it is a hurricane-prone area. And we are all saying prayers for you folks tonight. Good luck in the days ahead.
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