Frances makes a pit stop at the MacArthur campus

Hurricane Frances barreled into town on the morning of September 4th in the Jupiter area as students at the MacArthur Campus were forced to leave campus and seek safer shelter. As the storm approached all week students were busy with their normal classes as well as the anticipation of dealing with preparation of a hurricane. íåI was really paranoid,í¬ admits Derek McGrath, who lives on campus and attends the Honors College. Students who live on campus were asked to leave on Thursday after classes, which were suspended at noon. Before heading to home to Broward County, Derek moved the items in his room to a higher location and also moved his furniture. íåMy roommate just grabbed his backpack,í¬ jokes Derek, íåbut I was preparing in case of a flood.

While flooding was not an issue for some, wind damage made keeping the water out difficult. Winds were recorded at the Jupiter Inlet to be at gusts of 91 mph, while unverified wind reports were said to be over 100 mph. Frances took her time as she approached Palm Beach County and pounded on the Jupiter area from Saturday morning well into Sunday. The eye came right over town around midnight on Saturday with winds ceasing for about 2 hours before immediately picking up again. Rainfall was estimated to be around 12 inches in Jupiter, but receded quickly.

Around the MacArthur Campus there seemed to be only minor damage, thanks to the hurricane codes for the building structures. There was water damage in the dining hall and in some of the dorms in the second building. Traffic signs around campus were contorted in ways thought unimaginable. Some trees were completely uprooted while other native trees seemed to be untouched. FAU Police remained on duty after the storm to assess the buildings and keep the campus closed to all.

Directly across from campus, on the northeast corner lies Roger Dean Stadium, which suffered quite a bit of damage as four of their light fixtures fell around the stadium as well as on the building. Cell phones towers also lie on top of these lights, which explain the complete lack of service for many cell phone users. The streets of Abacoa were vacant, as shops were boarded up and fallen trees blocked the road. Traffic lights were completely out, making driving around a much more dangerous than usual.

Cecile Salas, 23, braved the storm at home with her family in Abacoa. íåAfter the storm I was so over the hurricane, I packed up and drove to Orlando just to get away from it all. Between being in my house with my family for days with no electricity and there being nothing to do, I needed a vacation.í¬ With school being closed though September 10th, she had plenty of time to spend with friends. Cecile did her part to help however, íåI had to put up all the hurricane shutters myself, except for the second story, that was too scary for me.í¬ And with Ivan right on the tail of Frances many people are keeping those shutters up.

Although the storm is gone, hurricane season of 2004 will be well remembered as the last hurricane to hit the county was in David in 1979. Residents continue to deal with structure damage and lack of electricity.