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Churning sustained winds of 125 mph, Hurricane Opal reached the Florida panhandle just after 6 p.m. EDT east of Pensacola. More than 55,000 frightened people have already crammed onto U.S. 29 and Interstate 10; thousands of others who waited too long to evacuate were trapped in their homes. At least one person, a 76-year-old woman, was killed when a spun-off tornado destroyed her mobile home. Opal is the ninth and by far the strongest hurricane of the season, one of the roughest ever. State officials compared it Hurricane Camille, which killed 256 people in Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana when it hit the Gulf Coast in 1969.
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