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Mary Grace Patterson

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Member Since: Feb, 2005

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I have lived in the sunshine state more than 30 years. Charley was my first hurricane encounter and last ,, (I hope) The winds were 145mph at our house !

We were not prepared for Charley. The weather forecasters and National Hurricane advisors said it was headed toward Tampa Bay. About noon on August 13,04, they announced the eye was starting to wobble, and it was going in a more easterly direction toward Fort Myers or Punta Gorda.

We ran out side and started putting our lawn furniture,bikes, and other loose objects in the garage. We tied strong ropes to our floating dock trying to secure it as best we could.
We didn't have anything to cover the windows with, so my husband parked our truck in front of the large dining room window. We were frantically racing against time. Soon our son in law, who lives next door, came to help and we were finally as ready as we could be.I filled pans, pails and the tub with water.

An announcement to evacute low lying areas and mobile homes came, and the police went through the parks urging everyone to leave at once and go to a shelter. Some of their warnings went unheeded. Those with medical problems were told to go to local hospitals. Most did what they could to get ready.

It was a beautiful sunny, hot Florida day. A gentle breeze had been blowing. About 3:ooPM gusty winds started whipping through trees, the sky became overcast and cloudy. Rain pelted the earth as it came in squals. The intensity of the wind and rain grew steadily. We could see trees bending, almost touching the ground. Some splintered like toothpicks, when they snapped in two as the hurricane moved counterclock wise. Roof shingles were sailing through the air, tossed about like small frisbees. We could hear objects hitting our house. We became increasingly nervous as we huddled in the living room. We heard a huge thud and the sound of metal ripping apart on the back lanai.
We ran to the bedroom and saw a large pine branch had pierced the lanai roof, missing the sliding glass door by inches. There was a gaping hole, the wind was pushing against the wall which seperated our lanai into two parts. The boards were bending as torrents of rain pelted every thing. The noise was thunderous as more wind and rain with flying debris pummeled our house.

Water began leaking from the ceilings in the living room, hall way and my computer room. I ran to find anything I could to catch the invading streams of water. We went to the hall way where there were no windows, praying the roof would hold.

Gradually the intensity of the hurricane began to decrease . We took vidoes of the last ragged breaths of Charley as he left about 5:30PM. An erie silence settled over the country side as the sun emerged. We thanked God for letting us live to see another day......   More to follow          

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Reviewed by Karla Dorman, The StormSpinner 9/8/2009
Been through remnants of Camille ('69) and flew through Hurricane Alicia ('83) - nearly got dinged by (Y)Ike - that was ENOUGH. Scary to even contemplate! Well done, MG, glad you survived pretty much unscathed.

(((HUGS))) and love, Karla.
Reviewed by Regis Auffray 9/24/2006
I've never experienced that kind of storm and hope I never do. It inspired you though. Good for you. Love and peace to you,

Reviewed by Karen Lynn Vidra, The Texas Tornado 9/23/2006
Glad you made it through Charley's wrath. If I ever was in a hurricane (and I pray I never am, though I have been in remnants of a few!), I wouldn't know what to do! It's bad enough living in Tornado Alley here in Texas (with NO freakin' basements! GAD!!)! Very well done!

(((HUGS))) and much love, your friend in Tx., Karen Lynn. :)

Great write! :)
Reviewed by Jerry Bolton 9/23/2006
I can certainly relate to this story, as I live in Southern Louisiana and have ridden out many storms, including Katrina and Rita, both on land and in boats in the Gilf of Mexico. Good non-fictional story, but I would ask that in the future you would put an extra space between the chapers, it is so much easier to read that way.

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