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RESIDENTS GET A PEEK AT OPAL’S DEVASTATION

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Residents of areas hit hardest by Hurricane Opal pleaded in vain Friday for a look at what the storm did to their homes. Some who flew over the area burst into tears at what they saw.

"Let me stay in my home! I don't have anywhere to go!" Lorraine Brown screamed at an official as she waited with nearly 1,000 other Pensacola Beach residents for permits to visit their homes for eight hours Saturday. "Why do we have to stand here in line to go to our own homes?"Pensacola Beach and next-door Navarre Beach, on a barrier island that took the hurricane's full force Wednesday evening, remained closed Friday as areas farther from the storm's center reopened to residents.

Authorities said they were limiting Saturday's access to those with permits to avoid clogging ruined streets with traffic.

Also closed were the eastern end of Santa Rosa Island, near Fort Walton Beach, and the Holiday Isle section of Destin, where search-and-rescue teams went door to door.

Searchers found no one, dead or alive, in the ruins by nightfall and planned to end their search Saturday, said Hank Christen, emergency management director for Okaloosa County. Mark Steinman, the county's manager for emergency medical service, said the unaccounted-for people may have simply left after the hurricane because of damage to their condominiums.

The hurricane roared ashore with 144 mph wind gusts, killing 18 people in four states. It caused an estimated $1.8 billion in damage to insured property along the Gulf of Mexico, making it the third-costliest hurricane in U.S. history.

Some people who took to a helicopter to see what was left of Navarre Beach and Pensacola Beach burst into tears, pilot Bill Pullum said.

"I certainly did," Mary Rebholtz said. She was inspecting houses for several friends, including some who suffered damage from Hurricane Erin two months ago. "One of my friends just got his roof on, and it's gone again."