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2 killed in Fla. as Ivan comes ashore

Eye of Category 4 storm should hit near Mobile, Alabama

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Some Floridians plan to ride out the hurricane in mobile homes.

As Ivan approaches, the exodus of coastal residents continues.

Ivan leaves parts of Cuba in ruins.

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As of 11 p.m. ET Wednesday

  • Position of center: 65 miles south of the Alabama coast
  • Latitude: 29.3 north
  • Longitude: 88.1 west
  • Top sustained winds: Near 135 mph

    Source: National Hurricane Center
    Hurricane Ivan

    MOBILE, Alabama (CNN) -- Two people in Florida were killed when the outer edge of Hurricane Ivan bashed four southeastern states with strong winds and pounding waves Wednesday.

    As of 11 p.m. ET, the storm was centered 65 miles (104 kilometers) south of the Alabama coast and moving north about 12 mph (19 kph), according to the National Hurricane Center in Miami. It should continue that path for the next 24 hours, forecasters said.

    The center said Ivan had sustained winds of 135 mph (215 kph), making it a Category 4 storm on the Saffir-Simpson scale.

    The storm is expected to drive a 10 to 16-foot storm surge onshore as it hits, the hurricane center said.

    Forecasters said swells in the center of the storm have measured 50 feet.

    Hurricane-force winds extended as far as 105 miles (168 kilometers) from the center and tropical storm-force winds extended 290 miles (464 kilometers).

    The hurricane center predicted the eye of Ivan will make landfall across Mobile Bay in Alabama early Thursday.

    Ivan will be the biggest hurricane to hit the Mobile area since Frederic devastated the region in September 1979, and it "is not showing any signs of weakening whatsoever," said Max Mayfield, director of the hurricane center.

    "This will cause extreme damage and if we're not careful, loss of life," Mayfield said.

    Tornadoes killed two people in Panama City Beach about 4 p.m. (5 p.m. ET), according to a Bay County spokeswoman.

    Tornadoes in southwestern Georgia injured a truck driver and destroyed two empty mobile homes, said a sheriff's department spokesman in Early County.

    Nearly 2 million residents of coastal Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and the Florida Panhandle have been ordered to evacuate, state officials said.

    About 1.2 million people live in affected parishes in Louisiana, according to Lt. Col. Pete Schneider of the Louisiana Office of Emergency Preparedness. At least 33 shelters have opened in the state for displaced residents, but they are full and no hotels have vacancies, he said.

    White House press secretary Scott McClellan said President Bush spoke Wednesday morning to the governors of Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi and Florida about Ivan and federal preparations for aid.

    In Louisiana, Dr. Walter Maestri, director of the Jefferson Parish's emergency management office predicted as many as 400,000 people would remain in New Orleans and surrounding areas "because the evacuation process is taking as long as 10 to 12 hours."

    New Orleans imposed a curfew Wednesday afternoon, a city official said.

    The city also has banned price gouging. The official said some gas stations were charging $10 a gallon, which he called "ridiculous."

    Mayor Ray Nagin said people determined to stay in their homes should have access to a second floor and be able to hack through the roof in case the water rises that far.

    New Orleans' usual party spots, including Bourbon Street, were virtually empty. (Full story)

    In Alabama, water already was spilling across the western end of Dauphin Island, about 35 miles south of downtown Mobile, by Wednesday afternoon.

    A surge of about 8 feet will cover a significant part of the barrier island and Fort Morgan Peninsula, across the mouth of Mobile Bay, said Randy McKee, head of the National Weather Service office in Mobile.

    Hurricane warnings were posted from Grand Isle, Louisiana, to Apalachicola, Florida, and a hurricane watch extended westward from Grand Isle to Morgan City, Louisiana.

    A tropical storm warning was in effect east from Apalachicola to Yankeetown, Florida, and west from Morgan City to Intracoastal, Louisiana.

    Dozens of people missing

    Ivan skirted Cuba late Monday as a Category 5 storm and killed more than 60 people on the Caribbean islands of Jamaica and Grenada over the weekend. Authorities in the Cayman Islands said dozen of people remain unaccounted for.

    Many homes on Grand Cayman have been flooded or have lost their roofs, and the islands remained under a state of emergency and a curfew Tuesday, two days after the storm hit, Department of Tourism spokeswoman Leanne Drago said. (Cayman Islands begin cleanup)

    Tropical Storm Jeanne over Puerto Rico

    Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Jeanne caused heavy flooding over much of Puerto Rico on Wednesday and was expected to hit the Dominican Republic on Thursday and the Bahamas on Friday, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said.

    Hurricane warnings were in effect for the western half of the Dominican Republic and a hurricane watch was issued for the southeastern Bahamas.

    Jeanne was just below hurricane strength with 65 mph (105 kph) winds. Forecasters said the storm could become a hurricane by early Thursday.

    CNN's Jason Bellini, David Mattingly, Kathleen Koch, Susan Candiotti and Paul Courson contributed to this report

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