PANAMA BEACH, Fla. -- This city and the rest of the Florida
Panhandle was bracing for Hurricane Earl and its 90 mph winds as of
Wednesday afternoon -- and writing off the holiday weekend.
The Labor Day weekend, a peak period for the area, appeared to
be beyond salvage, even if Earl does minimal damage. Most of the
Panhandle's guests drive in from surrounding states, where they
would likely encounter storm-related problem. Florida hotels along
the Gulf of Mexico reported losing reservations even when
vacationers thought the storm would hit Louisiana, and leave the
Panhandle with only rain.