MIAMI – Don’t put those shutters away just yet. Another one is out there and it suddenly detonated into a major hurricane Sunday in the distant Atlantic Ocean.

First stop on Hurricane Ivan’s itinerary: the outer rim of Caribbean islands, probably on Tuesday. Next stop: the Dominican Republic and Haiti, probably on Thursday. The stop after that: Who knows?

Already fatigued by an unusually active burst of hurricane activity, forecasters expressed surprise and some alarm Sunday over Ivan’s projected path and rapid intensification.

It was expected to smash into the Dominican Republic and Haiti as an intense Category 3 storm.

They said hurricane hunter crews would fly into Ivan on Monday night, gathering information that will help determine what – if any – threat it could pose to Florida and the rest of the mainland.

Newly resensitized to the hazards of living in the hurricane zone, Floridians wondered whether to take the shutters off their homes.

Forecasters said many things can happen this week and Ivan wasn’t expected to become an issue until at least the weekend.

Still, maybe it wasn’t a bad idea to keep those shutters handy.

“It’s a long, long way out,” said Max Mayfield, director of the National Hurricane Center in West Miami-Dade County. “But anytime you have a major hurricane southeast of us, you have to watch it very carefully.”

Asked what he was going to do, Mayfield settled into his chair and called the final authority on such matters: his wife.

“She’s keeping them up,” he said, smiling. “I’ve trained her well.”



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