Ivan demolishes Panhandle boats and marinas

PENSACOLA, Fla. – Different storm, same disastrous result, as the state of Florida once again bore the brunt of a powerful storm when Hurricane Ivan hit the U.S. yesterday and wreaked havoc on boats and marinas in the Pensacola area USA Today reported this morning.

The newspaper said a dry storage hangar at Bahia Mar Marina, which had housed as many as 250 boats, had collapsed in the storm and that other boats tied up at the docks had been flipped.

"All three of our marinas are wiped out," Stephanie Mutanuka, who handles slip leasing for Marina Management, told the newspaper. "It's going to cost millions of dollars."

Mutanuka estimated that 700 boats had been damaged. To get to the company's downtown marina, the company's owner had to wade through waist-deep water, USA Today reported.

Hurricane Ivan will undoubtedly add millions of dollars more to the damage already done to the boating industry in the Southeast by Hurricane Charley and Hurricane Frances.

A story in Thursday’s Miami Herald quoted estimates from BoatU.S. that placed the damage done by those two storms to recreational boats in the neighborhood of $450 million.

BoatU.S. estimated that Hurricane Charley caused around $130 million in damage to recreational boats, and that damages from Hurricane Frances are expected to top $300 million, the newspaper reported.

By comparison, Hurricane Andrew caused $500 million dollars in damage to boats. Those estimates do not include commercial boats or damage to marinas, according to the Herald.

Ivan’s path

Although Hurricane Ivan came ashore with 130 mph winds near Gulf Shores Beach, Ala., around 2 a.m. CDT Thursday, Florida’s Panhandle - squarely in the northeast quadrant of the storm, where the winds are most violent - took the brunt of the storm, the Associated Press reported this morning.

Ivan was the deadliest hurricane to hit the United States since Floyd in 1999. The hurricane was blamed for 70 deaths in the Caribbean and at least 28 in the United States, half of them in Florida.

In Escambia County, home to Pensacola and some 300,000 residents, at least seven people died in the storm, including one who suffered a heart attack at a shelter. A storm surge of 10 to 16 feet spawned monster waves. A portion of a bridge on Interstate 10, the major east-west highway through the Panhandle, was washed away, according to AP.

Insurance experts put Ivan's damage at anywhere from $3 billion to $10 billion. Hurricanes Charley and Frances had combined estimated insured damages between about $11 billion and $13 billion after striking Florida in the past month, AP reported.

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