Sunday, August 15, 2004

OUCH
Well, Charley was a nasty storm. It seems our little burg northeast of Orlando was dead on in the path, albeit nothing like Punta Gorda down south, which, from what I've heard, was basically wiped out. My cousins who have property there said 5 of their 6 buildings were completely destroyed.

It's Sunday now and power still hasn't come on. Most of the damage around here has been downed trees, sometimes falling into houses. They are usually huge old oaks, but because of the branches and such, they seemed to come down gently. For 90 minutes as the storm passed by, we only heard a few trees, branches hit ground. When we went outside the next day, we were surrounded by wreckage.

Here are some pictures I took Saturday Our neighborhood's three streets were all blocked with downed trees.



Here's the tree part of that mess came from.



Here's the other part of it.



John my neighbor gassed up his chainsaw and we went to work clearing what we could.



This looks bad, but once we cleared away we tree, the car was fine.



There is some thought that a treetop-level tornado blew through our neighborhood. A lot of trees seemed to explode about 20 - 40 off the ground, like these.



Several other old trees were just pulled up from the roots.



Needless to say, some houses got hit, but nothing totally destroyed.











In my friend Lisa's yard, her mighty oak crashed over a fence and landed in her neighbor's pool.



Several billboards and stripmall signs are lying in pieces.



We hope power returns soon (Jake is getting annoying without a TV to distract him). The town said they might get to clearing away debris sometime next week. The priority is clearing roads, restoring power and pulling trees off houses. We're grilling everything in the house, so if anyone feels like a cook-out, come on by.

If I can get annoyed for just a second, I must say the local radio media sucked during this emergency. Just a day after the storm, there wasn't any real news being reported - just a lot of people calling in and yacking: "We got creamed here in Bithlo...you know when our power's coming back up?" It was like radio therapy and pointless for anyone who wanted to know what happened in the rest of the state. Real Radio, the Clear Channel all-talk station at least spread some info inbetween the stupid phone calls, but the rest of the stations either sucked or went right back to their format within 24 hours, running music and car ads as if nothing happened, forgetting to announce little tidbits like we're suppose to boil drinking water for the next 5 days.

It really makes you wonder what local resources these stations have in the way of reporters. Probably none, and why should that surprise me?

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