View Full Version : Charley Targets Fla. With 145 Mph Winds

08-13-04, 01:33 PM
Charley Targets Fla. With 145 Mph Winds

By BRENDAN FARRINGTON, Associated Press Writer

TAMPA, Fla. - Hurricane Charley strengthened to a dangerous Category 4 storm packing 145 mph winds bearing down on Florida's west coast Friday.

State officials urged almost 2 million people to evacuate, but the storm path moved slightly south of the heavily populated Tampa Bay region to the booming areas of Sarasota and Charlotte counties, meteorologist Daniel Brown said.

An expected massive storm surge could devastate coastal and low-lying areas in the Sarasota, Port Charlotte, Tampa and St. Petersburg, where many streets were deserted as workers were told to stay home or head to shelters.

If it remains at its current strength, Charley would be the strongest hurricane since the Category 5 Andrew hit south of Miami in 1992.

By noon, Charley's outer bands were already dropping rain on southwestern Florida, a few hours after bringing occasionally heavy wind and rain to the lower Keys as the storm's center passed to the west. Only minor damage was immediately reported.

Charley claimed at least three lives in Cuba earlier Friday in its sprint across the country earlier Friday, its top civil defense official said.

Lt. Col. Domingo Carretero reported the casualties in a live early afternoon report on state-run television, but offered no specifics except to say the three deaths occurred in Havana province, which rings the capital.

The storm on Thursday killed a farmer in Jamaica.

Evacuation shelters in Florida were filling to capacity Friday morning, as residents and tourists looked for somewhere safe to ride out the storm. This potentially could be the largest evacuation in state history, officials said.

Gov. Jeb Bush said he had sought a federal disaster declaration from President Bush (news - web sites), his brother, and urged residents to stay wherever they were.

"This is not the time to be getting on the interstate. It is time to seek a safe place to be with family and friends inside of your region," the governor said.

A shelter at Sickles High School in northwestern Tampa was full to its capacity of 500 at the breakfast hour. Windows had been reinforced with screens and tarps to prepare for the storm.

"I'm scared that we're going to go home and nothing is going to be there," 20-year-old Amanda Kellogg said as she played blackjack with four friends, their suitcases, bedding and other possessions piled beside them.

The main airports in Tampa and Sarasota closed at noon, and Tampa's Busch Gardens and Adventure Island theme parks were closed. In the Orlando area, Walt Disney World closed early, while Universal Orlando and SeaWorld Orlando planned to close their parks in the early afternoon.

About 1,000 Florida National Guard members have been activated, and another 1,000 were being called up.

Earlier, the storm roared across Cuba, ripping apart roofs, downing power lines and yanking up huge palm trees. High wind and heavy rain battered Havana, home to 2.2 million people. There were no immediate reports of casualties or major damage, but power that had shut down for safety reasons was still not restored more than eight hours later.

Chunks of corrugated roof were ripped from the roof of Marlen Perez's modest home.

"The wind was howling and I was screaming, 'Oh my God, oh my God.' Pieces of the roof were falling everywhere," said Perez, 39. "... I thought the walls were falling down."

Before reaching Cuba, Charley drenched Jamaica, where one man died.

The hurricane was arriving in Florida a day after Tropical Storm Bonnie came ashore in the state's Panhandle and quickly moved north. Three people, including a child, were killed and 29 injured Friday when a tornado hit a North Carolina trailer park.

About 6.5 million of Florida's 17 million residents were in Charley's projected path, including about 700,000 elderly people, officials said.

At 1 p.m. Friday, the storm was 70 miles south-southwest of Fort Myers, moving north-northeast at about 20 mph. It was expected to make landfall between 4 and 7 p.m., meteorologists said. Hurricane force wind extended outward 30 miles from the eye; tropical storm force wind went out 105 miles. Gusts were measured at 58 mph in the lower Keys.

All the west coast of Florida's peninsula was under a hurricane warning, as was the lower Florida Keys. Tropical storm watches and warnings extended from the middle Keys to Oregon Inlet, N.C.

About 1.9 million people from the Florida Keys north through the west coast were advised to evacuate, although only 1.1 million to 1.5 million were expected to do so before the storm hit, said Kristy Campbell, spokeswoman at the state emergency management center.

After Florida, Charley was expected to head north along Georgia's coast, arriving in South Carolina around midday Saturday.

Campers were asked Friday to leave Georgia's Cumberland Island, and South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford called Friday for a voluntary evacuation of low-lying areas along his state's southern coast.

The hurricane's predicted track could take the storm into lush fields of corn, cotton and soybeans, as well as large cattle, poultry and hog farms from Florida into Virginia. Vegetable, greenhouse and citrus growers in Florida faced the first impact.

Florida's evacuation request was its biggest since 1999, when Hurricane Floyd prompted an order for a record 1.3 million people to evacuate the state's east coast. Charley's evacuation could break that record, said Craig Fugate, the state's emergency management director.

Most evacuations were in the counties of Hillsborough, which contains Tampa, and Pinellas, a peninsula that contains St. Petersburg. All residents of MacDill Air Force Base, on another peninsula in Tampa Bay, were ordered out with only essential personnel remaining. MacDill is home to U.S. Central Command, the nerve center of the war in Iraq (news - web sites).


On the Net:

National Hurricane Center (news - web sites): http://www.nhc.noaa.gov




Prayers Outgoing.....

08-13-04, 03:25 PM
The 3day storm track estimate, predicts Charley will cross Florida, and then stay in the Atlantic a few hours, right off of the coast of Parris Island!

08-13-04, 04:11 PM
Thank you for your prayers, Ellie. I talked to my mom in Florida this a.m. and she was scared silly. All I could do was reassure her. Am glad to see the main part of the storm is basically staying south of her for now. I pray the inherent tornadoes associated with these storms are few; and that Charley doesn't strengthen once it clears Florida.

08-13-04, 04:24 PM

My parents and sister are down there...Just pulled in early this morning.....Everything is shut down now....My brother is South Carolina....and is having problems finding gas stations open....My other brother just started.......

We will be hit in Philly with more rain by tomorrow night...........Like we need it.......

Prayers are out.........


08-13-04, 04:34 PM
My mom lives in Tampa where the hurricane was heading. Fortunately as I write this, Charley is moving inland around Ft. Meyers. I'm glad my mom is alright but am putting out prayers for those further south.

08-13-04, 06:37 PM
Hurricane season in Florida... ya'll come on down, now, ya hear? yes, I'm in my bunker....

running Bonnie/Charlie tab:


08-13-04, 08:44 PM
Our prayers for all you folks facing Bonnie and Charlie...
Stay in your bunker...
Up here all we face are tornadoes and blizzards...

Semper Fidelis/Semper Fi

08-13-04, 09:15 PM
dang i remember a typhoon in okinawa once damn four days in barracks with high winds hard rain windows taped up and wall lockers in front of them all kinds of damage when it was over man i was glad when that was over.

08-14-04, 05:25 AM
August 14th - 5:34 am ET

Hurricane Charley's death toll to climb as official reports 'a number of fatalities'

Associated Press Writer

PUNTA GORDA, Fla. The death toll from Hurricane Charley rose early Saturday, when a county official said there had a been "significant loss of life" at a mobile home park and deputies were standing guard over stacks of bodies because the area was inaccessible to ambulances.

Wayne Sallade, Charlotte County's director of emergency management, said early Saturday that there were "a number of fatalities" at the mobile home park, and that there were confirmed deaths in at least three other areas in the county.

The eye of the worst hurricane to hit Florida in a dozen years passed directly over Punta Gorda, a town of 15,000 which took a devastating hit Friday.

Hundreds of people were missing in Charlotte and thousands were left homeless, Sallade said. He compared the devastation with 1992's Hurricane Andrew, which the National Hurricane Center directly blamed for the deaths of 26 people, most in South Florida.

"It's Andrew all over again," he said. "We believe there's significant loss of life."

Sallade did not have an estimate on a specific number of fatalities. He said it may take days to get a final toll.

Extensive damage was also reported on exclusive Captiva Island, a narrow strip of sand west of Fort Myers.

President Bush declared a major disaster area in Florida, making federal money available to Charlotte, Lee, Manatee and Sarasota counties. One million customers were reported without power statewide, including all of Hardee County and Punta Gorda.

The Category 4 storm was stronger than expected when the eye reached the mainland at Charlotte Harbor, pummeling the coast with winds reaching 145 mph and a surge of sea water of 13 to 15 feet.

Charley was forecast to spread sustained winds of about 40 mph to 60 mph across inland portions of eastern North Carolina and to dump 3 to 6 inches of rain beginning Saturday morning, forecasters said. Gov. Mike Easley declared a state of emergency.

In South Carolina, roads clogged Friday night as tourists and residents of the state's Grand Strand beaches and high-dollar homes and hotels heeded a mandatory evacuation order. Gov. Mark Sanford had urged voluntary evacuation earlier Friday.

At Charlotte Regional Medical Center in Punta Gorda, 40 people sought treatment for storm injuries. The hospital was so badly damaged that patients were transferred to other hospitals.

"We can't keep patients here," CEO Josh Putter said. "Every roof is damaged, lots of water damage, half our windows are blown out."

Among those seeking treatment was Marty Rietveld, showered with broken glass when the sliding glass door at his home was smashed by a neighbor's roof that blew off. Rietveld broke his leg, and his future son-in-law suffered a punctured leg artery.

"We are moving," said Rietveld's daughter, Stephanie Rioux. "We are going out of state."

At least 20 patients with storm injuries were reported at a hospital in Fort Myers.

A crash on Interstate 75 in Sarasota County killed one person, and a wind gust caused a truck to collide with a car in Orange County, killing a young girl. A man who stepped outside his house to smoke a cigarette died when a banyan tree fell on him in Fort Myers, authorities said.

At the Charlotte County Airport, wind tore apart small planes, and one flew down the runway as if it were taking off. The storm spun a parked pickup truck 180 degrees, blew the windows out of a sheriff's deputy's car and ripped the roof off an 80-foot-by 100-foot building.

Martin said he saw homes ripped apart at two trailer parks.

"There were four or five overturned semi trucks 18-wheelers on the side of the road," he said.

In Desoto County outside Arcadia, several dead cows, wrapped in barbed wire, littered the roadside.

The hurricane rapidly gained strength in the Gulf of Mexico after crossing Cuba and swinging around the Florida Keys as a more moderate Category 2 storm Friday morning. An estimated 1.4 million people evacuated in anticipation of the strongest hurricane to strike Florida since Andrew in 1992.

Charley reached landfall at 3:45 p.m. EDT, when the eye passed over barrier islands off Fort Myers and Punta Gorda, some 110 miles southeast of the Tampa Bay area.

Charley hit the mainland 30 minutes later, with storm surge flooding of 10 to 15 feet, the hurricane center said. Nearly 1 million people live within 30 miles of the landfall.

The state put 5,000 National Guard soldiers and airmen on alert to help deal with the storm, but only 1,300 had been deployed by Friday night, a state emergency management spokeswoman said.

At a nursing center in Port Charlotte, Charley broke windows and ripped off portions of the roof, but none of the more than 100 residents or staff was injured, administrator Joyce Cuffe said.

"The doors were being sucked open," Cuffe said. "A lot of us were holding the doors, trying to keep them shut, using ropes, anything we could to hold the doors shut. There was such a vacuum, our ears and head were hurting."

At 5 a.m. EDT, the center of the storm was in the Atlantic Ocean, about 115 miles south-southwest of Charleston, S.C., and moving north-northeast at 25 mph. Forecasters expected Charley to increase in speed. Maximum sustained winds were near 85 mph with higher gusts.

The center was expected to approach the South Carolina coast later Saturday. A hurricane warning was issued from Altamaha Sound, Ga., north to the North Carolina-Virginia state line. From there, a tropical storm watch extended north to Sandy Hook, including the Chesapeake and Delaware bays. A tropical storm warning was issued from Sandy Hook north to Merrimack River, including the New York Harbor and Long Island Sound.

Spared the worst of the storm was the Tampa Bay area, where about a million people had been told to leave their homes. Some drove east, only to find themselves in the path of the Charley.

"I feel like the biggest fool," said Robert Angel of Tarpon Springs, who sought safety in a motel. "I spent hundreds of dollars to be in the center of a hurricane. Our home is safe, but now I'm in danger."

The fourth named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season, Danielle, formed Friday but posed no immediate concern to land. The fifth may form as early as Saturday and threaten islands in the southeastern Caribbean Sea.

Associated Press writers Mark Long in Fort Myers, Ken Thomas in Key West, Mitch Stacy and Brendan Farrington in Tampa, Vickie Chachere in Sarasota, Mike Branom and Mike Schneider in Orlando and Bruce Smith in Charleston, S.C., contributed to this report.

On the Net:
National Hurricane Center:

Copyright 2004 The Associated Press.

Phantom Blooper
08-14-04, 11:17 AM
Charley is now bearing down on NC...Waterspouts and possible tornadoes are popping up.The winds are picking up,and the rain is coming down. So far no deaths or injuries.And a far ways from being as bad as Fla. It is a category 1.It' moving into Pender County..as i write Onslow where Camp Lejeune is at is next. Camp Lejeune is getting wind and water.Trying to let you know before the power goes off. Semper-Fi! Chuck Hall

Arlene Horton
08-14-04, 12:22 PM
My granddaughter & her 3 year old son live in Tampa and when they got word to evacuate she packed essential items and hit the road to Orlando. As you can expect, the hurricane switched directions and headed for Orlando. Can't count on projected directions. My son lives in central Florida and said all they got was a lot of wind damage...branches down, loss of electricity but he said the power outage wasn't unusual. My thoughts & prayers are with the people who lost just about everything in the Port Charlotte area. Lots of nice folks there.

08-14-04, 01:39 PM
Just called Lejeune. They are waiting. Son's is okay. Caught some wind and rain gusts in Miramar ... everything seems to be okay. Praying for the affected areas.

Phantom Blooper
08-14-04, 01:49 PM
Winds are picking up,gusts,ripping tree limbs an power lines.scattered outages, tornadoe watch in effect to 2000 all around.Power flickered once.Wind speeds approx. 65 MPH. Eye of storm is moving up and storm is going up further inland. No deaths or injuries so far.Semper Fi! Chuck Hall:marine:

Phantom Blooper
08-14-04, 07:01 PM
Minimal damage! Just came back from taking yougest daughter home,creeks and New River high.Lots of branches down. Sporatic trees down, very few compared to 1999 Bertha& Floyd. Power outages,but getting power up quickly. Still no injuries or deaths reported.A total of three Bradford Pear Memorial trees limbs broke,one busted at stump over by CLNC and Camp Johnson. Say prayers for Florida! Semper-Fi!! Chuck Hall:marine:

08-14-04, 08:53 PM
Just starting to rain here..Winds are picking up...At this time we do not need any more rain..We have been flooding up our end for the last few weeks from all the rain we keep getting..

My parents, sister and two brothers are in Daytona Beach...They have been out of power since 11:00 PM last night...They are all holding out in the condo....We have been talking by cell phones but there batteries do not have much life left....

Prayers are Out for All the Folks that have crossed in Charlies path.......


08-16-04, 08:26 AM
In 1971, while still stationed at Camp LeJeune, I rode out a hurricane in Swansboro, NC where I lived off base in a 50 foot mobile home. Swansboro was about 10 or so miles from the ocean. Winds reached 90 MPH there. There was a dense tree canopy in the trailer park which helped in reducing the effect of the wind.
Never the less, it was quite a sobering experience. The trailer was rocking, moving as if it had a life of it's own. I thought a tree would soon crash through the tin can.
This happened way before tie down laws and other safety measures.

I find it incredible that folks choose to stay in mobile / modular homes in Florida even after the warnings were clear.
Hurricanes are very unpredictable. If I lived there and had a Cat 2 hurricane just off shore, I'd be gone. As it turned out, Charley decided to up the ante' by increasing to a Cat 4 just before landfall AND not in Tampa where forecasters thought it would strike.
From Naples northward on the west coast the forecasters said to get out. Many did not heed the warnings.
Florida is a Mecca for the retired and vacationers. It also sports a great number of retirement and vacation communities that consist of flimsey trailers and mobile homes.
I am personally surprized that the death toll was not higher than the 16 reported as I write this.

By the way, a couple of years ago the trailer park I lived in down in NC some 30 years ago (Kelley's Trailer Park) was completely destroyed by a hurricane.

08-16-04, 06:03 PM
Monday, August 16, 2004 Story last updated at 3:30 p.m. on Monday, August 16, 2004

Vignettes along the path of Hurricane Charley

The Associated Press
Vignettes along the path of Hurricane Charley:

Clean-up workers are organizing the debris strewn across Punta Gorda. At one strip mall, several huge piles of insulation and roofing material were in a neat row. Corners of other parking lots were piled with branches, building materials and furniture.

There were signs of optimism, too, at one destroyed hardware store. On the remnants of an outside wall, someone wrote in large orange letters: "We will be back!"

At a Sherwin-Williams paint store, a boarded-up window had this message: "Charley hit Florida, but we cover the earth! Sorry Charley."

The owners of a Brown Cow convenience store opened without power, despite damage to the building.

"The debris of our roof is over there, some of it's over there," said Imran Siddiqi, pointing at both sides of the narrow store where crumpled roofing material lay on the ground.

Siddiqi was using his cell phone calculator to tally customers' purchases, scribbling totals on scraps of paper.

Jeff Fields, 42, of Port Charlotte, picked up a six-pack of beer and four packs of cigarettes.

"It helps with the cleanup," he said.

At a "comfort station" at Murdock Public Library in North Port, National Guard troops gave each resident five bags of ice and six gallons of water.

Monday's operation ran efficiently, with residents driving up to a 53-foot-long trailer, opening their trunks and watching guardsmen load their vehicles.

Tami Wilson, 45, of Port Charlotte, wiped away a tear after picking up her supplies. She and her blind husband, Dewaine, haven't had a shower or a hot meal since the storm hit Friday.

"The hard part is not being able to bathe and not having food and water unless I go out and look for it. Last night, we almost gave up because it got so hot. We were going to go to the shelter, but we can't because of her," Wilson said, pointing to her black chow, Muffisa.

About 300 people woke up to a breakfast of scrambled eggs, bacon and milk at an American Red Cross shelter in Englewood.

"It's starting to sink in," said one temporary resident, Jo Trail, who was staying there with her husband and 10-year-old grandson.

Trail's mobile home in Arcadia was destroyed, along with most of her possessions. The family rode out the storm lying beneath a mattress.

"It took the false teeth right out of my mouth," Trail said, showing the absence of any front teeth. "It took the glasses right off of my face."

Trail said her 10-year-old grandson, T.J., who is autistic, was worried he was going to get killed in the storm, recalling that he said, "I'm going to die."

"I said, 'No honey, God's not going to let that happen.' He then said, 'God, please make it stop' - and within two minutes, the wind stopped blowing."

In a part of Fort Myers just across from the barrier island of Sanibel, residents said life seemed to be getting back to normal Monday. Pickup trucks were carting away palm fronds and the twisted remnants of metal gutters. Power was restored.

Sharon Bauman was taking her dog out for a walk down here newly cleaned street. "The ground was just covered. It was just like fall leaves. So they really worked hard."

In North Port, Darren Perreault sipped a cup of coffee outside the San Pedro Catholic Church activities center Monday morning, thankful he and his 14-year-old son, Daniel, had a place to spend the night.

"This is like heaven," Perreault said. "Drive through Punta Gorda, you'll see hell firsthand."

Perreault's rental home in Punta Gorda lost part of its roof and suffered major structural damage.

Rich Goldfarb of Jacksonville arrived in Port Charlotte late Sunday night with his mobile barbecue unit, and he quickly began smoking pork and beef at midnight - an eight-hour process. He set up shop on a vacant lot between two businesses.

"Last night, we had a bunch of people stop in as we were getting set up just dying for a hot meal," he said. "They were a little disappointed, but they'll be back."

Goldfarb said he has enough food to cook about 600 sandwiches. The sandwiches will sell for $6 each.

Copyright Associated Press.

08-16-04, 09:14 PM
An Army National Guard unit that spent a year in Iraq found itself in a comparable situation Monday in Port Charlotte - rebuilding a devastated area.

The 1st Battalion, 124th Military Unit from Miami traveled to southeastern Florida to help residents recover from Hurricane Charley.

"Even in Iraq, these soldiers are very responsive to people needing help," Major Ralph Ribas said. "We moved heaven and earth to make things better for them. We're doing the same thing here."

The unit provided civilian security in Ramadi, helping that city rebuild its hospitals and schools before returning home in March. Soldiers will now do similar work in Port Charlotte.

But, Ribas said, "In Iraq, for the most part, cities are intact."

The soldiers are helping distribute ice and water, direct traffic and handle the distribution of food and other supplies. The unit performed similar duties in Homestead after Hurricane Andrew in 1992.


08-17-04, 02:03 PM
Tuesday, August 17, 2004 Story last updated at 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Vignettes along the path of Hurricane Charley - Continued

The Associated Press

Sixty employees gathered at the main branch of the Punta Gorda post office Tuesday morning to raise the flag and get back to work for the first time since Charley struck their community. After the Pledge of Allegiance and some applause, Postmaster Doug Burns declared, "We're back in business as of this morning."

Burns said mail is one of the only means of communications left to the disaster victims who still have spotty phone service. Postal workers drove all delivery routes Monday to determine which ones were passable. They plan to give priority to accumulated mail and medicines delivered to the city's large elderly population, allow those who rent boxes to get drive-through service and help those who lost their mailboxes.

"No mail will be sent back. We will hold it until somehow they contact us," he said.

Postal worker Chuck Cantasano said he was practically homeless after the storm. The second story of his south Punta Gorda home was ripped apart and he almost didn't report for work Tuesday.

But when he visited one of his route stops on Monday, the Burnt Store Colony trailer park, he knew he had to get back to work.

"When I walked in the door, they broke into a round of applause," the sweaty, bearded man said. "That was a good feeling."

Norma Chapman, 82, of Punta Gorda, was left without any electricity or running water. So she drove to the parking lot of a half-demolished strip mall in her town, where members of the National Guard were handing out bottled water, ice, handheld portable potties and tarps.

"I haven't had a hot meal in days, but I'm doing alright," Chapman said.

Spc. Danny Carr tossed six bags of ice into her car. She waved at him and said, "Thank you, so

Chapman said she didn't have that much damage to her home even though a mobile home park behind her was demolished.

Gov. Jeb Bush met people Tuesday who were getting food at a comfort station at Osceola Square Mall in Kissimmee. He seemed a little surprised when told that the people were getting jambalaya and pear slices.

"Jambalaya? You're kidding!" he said.

Luis Chavarria, 40, of Poinciana, was with his aunt and brother to thank Bush for the help.

"God bless you and God bless the president," he told Bush.

Bush, an promoter of early reading, also checked up on two 13-year-old girls helping the Red Cross serve food.

"I'm sure you're doing a lot of reading and studying while you're not in school," he said. They only laughed in response.

Copyright Associated Press.

08-18-04, 12:09 AM
Sanibel mayor Marty Harrity stood outside of a Holiday Inn hotel on Tuesday, talking on a cellular phone with a reporter as thunder roared in the background.

Sanibel Island, the tourist haven with only about 6,000 year-round denizens, was to open Wednesday for residents and business-owners. But Harrity said Charley's effect on tourism among Lee County's barrier islands was going to last, pointing to one of the largest resorts in the area as an example.

"The fact is that some of our bigger resorts, like South Seas Plantation, will not be open based on damages for a couple of months," he said. "It's going to hurt."

At a housing development in Punta Gorda, where all the roofs of the one- and two-story housing units were damaged in the storm, many residents were afraid to leave because they said looters were wandering through the apartments.

Volunteers from the private sector were bringing in water and diapers, but residents said they hadn't received any official aid.

"FEMA's not coming in here," said Jeanne Sweeney, director of the Christian Chamber of Southwest Florida, a nonprofit organization. "These are the poorest of the poor in southwest Florida ... we need the National Guard to put some tents up."

Wayne Sallade, Charlotte County's emergency management director who had complained that Charlotte residents had short notice that the storm was heading their way, said Max Mayfield, director of the National Hurricane Center, came to Charlotte Tuesday to "face the music."

"The first thing I did was I gave him a hug, and I told him I still love him," Sallade said, adding he was impressed that Mayfield would visit Charlotte. "He knew we weren't tickled about what happened last Friday afternoon."

Mayfield had earlier defended the Miami center's work.

"A lot of people think we can give them a near perfect forecast," he said. "We know we can't give them a near perfect forecast."

Copyright Associated Press.

08-18-04, 06:54 PM
Wednesday, August 18, 2004 Story last updated at 2:45 p.m. on Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Vignettes along the path of Hurricane Charley - continued:

The Associated Press

A lot of people have stories about surviving Hurricane Charley with their cats and dogs. Rich and Dolly Naegeli spent the storm outside the city of Punta Gorda with dozens of exotic birds, which squawked loudly in their living room as the winds roared outside.

Outside the home were four llamas, two horses and another 16 caged birds - macaws, parrots and other species from as far away as the South Pacific.

Their daughter Heidi Morrison says her father "always has a zoo here." She was also in the house along with her 8-year-old son, Taylor.

But it's not as big as other zoos Rich Naegeli has run. He was the first zoo director at Busch Gardens in Tampa and later ran the Franklin Park Zoo in Boston and a Saudi Arabian zoo.

During the storm, winds ripped apart half the screened porch and sent some of the bird cages tumbling about 70 feet across the yard. One of them housed Paul, a green winged macaw, who was named after the Naegelis' son, who died in a motorcycle accident seven years ago.

"They ran out and rescued him in the wind," Morrison said. "That bird is important to them, so when that bird went flying, my mother was hysterical." The couple only lost one of their 60 exotic birds during the storm.

J.R. Kidwell and Trent Carbbe, utility workers for Georgia Power, have been working 17-hour days since arriving Saturday.

The workers from Carrolltown, Ga., started their day at 5 a.m. Wednesday straightening out downed utility poles and stringing new wire at the Hardee-Polk county line.

"The heat is the hardest part of the job," Kidwell said as cars and trucks whizzed by along U.S. 17. "Sometimes, you can't get a truck to right of ways. So you have to climb a pole with your hands and legs. A lot of times you get your trucks stuck in ditches."

Kidwell said this is the most devastating disaster he's ever seen.

Pete Granda returned Wednesday to his auto lube shop in Wauchula to retrieve whatever equipment he could salvage - but there wasn't much to save. Charley likely knocked him out of business for good.

All that remained at the cinder block garage were three walls and wooden beams. His tools, cash register, fax machine, and oil filters were blown away - an estimated $150,000 in damages.

"I've just taken too big a hit. It's in the middle of the month and I still have bills out that I haven't paid," Granda said. "I've got no way to pay them if my suppliers cut me off. I have no way of making any money to pay for it."

Granda did not carry any insurance for the contents of his business. And his hardships also extend to his home - his house lost part of the roof.

The Pinellas County Jail was doing 256 inmates a favor when the sheriff's office decided anyone with less than 30 days left on their misdemeanor sentences could go free last week. That's when it looked like Hurricane Charley was heading to the Tampa Bay area.

But there was a catch: they had to come back Tuesday or risk more jail time after finishing their terms for nonviolent offenses like drug possession and petty theft. The Clearwater jail is in a flood-prone area, and the ground level was cleared as a precaution.

"We have 34 no shows," said sheriff's Sgt. Tim Goodman. "The courts determined that the ones that didn't show, warrants would be issued for them and they would have to appear before a judge."

A few came back Wednesday "thinking they could just show up and walk back in," Goodman said. They were arrested and sent to court.

"To me, it doesn't make sense that 34 of them didn't show up," he said.

Copyright Associated Press.

08-18-04, 07:16 PM
That jail release thing was quite a story. I was in a bar a few months ago. I sat with four strangers, so I introduced the topic of where we were on 9/11.

The funniest story was a guy that was in the Toronto city jail. On the morning of 9/11, when it was still uncertain if Toronto was going to be a target, ALL the guards locked everyone down and basically said, "Best of Luck! Hope to see you boys tomorrow."

No noon chow or nothing. They did come back in time to let them out for evening chow. He said there was a lot of quiet praying during that day.

Anyway...back on topic. I did see a news story following a FLA Army Reserve unit. After a year in Iraq, one soldier said he was proud and grateful to serve again. Especially patrolling in an area where, "..no one is shooting at you!"

08-19-04, 04:42 PM
Hurricane Charley: what went right, wrong
Submitted by: MCRD Parris Island
Story Identification #: 200481995934
Story by Lance Cpl. Brian Kester

MCRD/ERR PARRIS ISLAND, S.C. (Aug. 20, 2004) -- Hurricane Charley left Florida in a state of disarray, and was then supposed to make an appearance along the coastline of South Carolina. With the possibility of evacuation all too real, it missed Parris Island and left behind a surprisingly sunny day.

Just because the devastation missed the Depot, it does not mean that residents should be footloose and fancy free now that the storm has passed.

Colonel Mark Triplett, assistant chief of staff, Operations and Training, takes a look at what measures the Depot took, and what residents can do now that the close call is but a memory.

Q: Hurricane Charley defied all efforts to predict it and wrought incredible damage in Florida. It appears many in Florida seemed to ignore the threat and not take proper precautions. For those Depot personnel and families who have never experienced destructive weather, what lessons should they take away from this experience?

A: They have got to prepare the outside of their house. They need to have it all tied down and take things into the house and secure them, that is probably one of the biggest things. Here on the Depot we made a concerted effort on all of the construction sites to get them secure. With the outside areas, anything that you can do to reduce [the risk of] something getting turned into a missile is good.

Q: What were the biggest lessons learned from our reaction to this storm?

A: Once we saw it make the right turn down by Cuba and start heading toward Florida, we were putting the information out there. We had basically two, two-and-a-half days of telling people it's coming. If there is a possibility that this thing is going to come, then we need to start preparing and getting ready.

Q: How can Depot residents better prepare themselves for the possibility of destructive weather?

A: They probably ought to have evacuation routes [planned]. Where are they going, how are they getting out of Parris Island and getting to wherever it is that they need to go. A lot of people were planning on heading to Albany or someplace, but that would have put them driving into the storm front. So, you have to be a little bit more aware of it and figure out how you are going to get to where you are trying to get to. Take a look at the hurricane packets that the Depot puts out. There is a lot of good information in there on how to prepare.

Q: What message or messages do you want to send to Marines and family members about how the Depot will respond to future storm threats?

A: We are getting ready to schedule another town hall meeting in the Depot Theater to pick up the people that have rotated into the Depot since we had the ones back in May and June.

We push the information to the units and the units push it to the out to members of their units, but I think that a lot of that word gets passed and the typical service member goes home at night, is tired and they don't have a lot of discussions about the possibilities of hurricanes. So getting the family members involved and inviting them into the town meetings at the theaters is key.

Q: What is the best source of information for family members in a destructive weather situation?

A: Some of the best sources of information that we had for family members are to watch the weather channel.

Also, the Public Affairs Office was very active in keeping the Parris Island Web site updated. We posted a lot of information in preparation for Charley when it was coming and throughout the time that we were in a threat condition from the hurricane. That information was constantly being updated on the Web page. We also have the 1-800 number (1-800-343-0639, then press 3) where they can call and get updated information.

Q: How much notice can residents expect to receive if an evacuation of the Depot is ordered?

A: Residents can probably expect to receive 12 to 24-hour notification. That is going to be situational dependent, but that is what we are shooting for.