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After the Storm

Last fall, four hurricanes hit six top winter destinations. Months later, we returned for a look.

Sunday, November 21, 2004; Page P01

Charley, Frances, Ivan and Jeanne got their minutes of fame in early fall when they took turns whipping parts of Florida and the Caribbean with winds of up to 250 mph and tidal surges so high that one island actually disappeared from radar screens.

Where again was that exactly, and how's the recovery going?

Hard hit by hurricanes Frances and Jeanne, the Bahamian island is set to reopen 1,000 hotel rooms by mid-December. But not the Crowne Plaza, pictured above, as it looked on Sept. 6. (Andres Leighton/AP)

To find out, now that winter-vacation planning season is here, we sent six reporters south: to the Florida coasts, to the Bahamas and to two Caribbean islands, Grand Cayman and Jamaica. They found places that already are beginning to look like their old selves, if they could paste some fronds on their naked palm trees.

They also found zones of rubble-strewn devastation. And they found areas that merely need the contents of a few more Home Depots to make things right.

No matter where they roamed, they heard a familiar refrain: Tourists are our lives, and our livelihoods. Bring 'em on.

But are they ready for us?

Our reports begin below.

After the Storm

Jamaica: After Ivan, A Jammin' Comeback
Grand Cayman: Come On Down, the Stingrays Are Fine
Grand Bahama: Come December, Hurricane Who?
Southeast Florida: An Open and Shut Coast
Southwest Florida: Sanibel Island, Under Cover No More
Ala./Fla. Border: Sifting Through the White Sand
How You Can Help

© 2004 The Washington Post Company


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