Friday the 13th turned out to be a lucky day for many of us in the Tampa Bay area. The world started turning once again on Friday evening. Our prayers were answered so quickly! Charley had a mind of its own - his name really should have been Charlene because only women are allowed to change their minds so haphazardly.
I almost feel like someone took the bullet meant for me, and I don't know who to thank except the guy upstairs.
I've lived here for many, many years, and I have always respected the weatherman's warning for heavy rains, fierce winds and devastating frosts. Sometimes I took heed and protected my prized possessions; sometimes I was just too tired. And so it goes.
But Friday, Charley was dead serious. And I knew it. My home was protected to the best of my ability, and my family came to visit. With all the dire threats and hopeless reports on TV, we still managed to have a good hurricane party.
When I decided to move to Florida many decades ago, I knew there were some major drawbacks. But I figured way back then to take half my teacher's pay in sunshine and enjoy each day as it came. I have never regretted this. I raised a beloved daughter to be a beach bum, I found the best spouse in the whole world, and so, I am at peace with the world.
Charley deviated from his route to give Tampa Bay another chance, but we must not rest on our laurels. We must know that another horrific tempest will threaten us. Our watchfulness, our vigilance, our attention will be, once again, taxed to the max.
-- Marilyn McDonald, Clearwater
Thanks to Fox News for storm reports
I would like to commend WTVT-Ch. 13/Fox News for its continuous coverage of Hurricane Charley and thank them for their commitment and dedication to the people in this community.
I feel their broadcasts were filled with the reality of the situation and did not promote a feeling of chaotic panic. The interviews with the emergency operations centers, Progress Energy and all agencies related to the safety of this community were excellent.
I would like to thank Paul Dellagato and the entire weather staff for keeping us informed on all the information related to Charley.
-- Phyllis Lewellyn, Clearwater
Hurricane forecasts missed the mark
wanted: The National Hurricane Center is looking for weather forecasters. Qualifications/requirements: No experience, no education. Special consideration given to former employees of Ms. Cleo's psychic hotline.
-- Jack Kolatosz, Largo
Rains make summer prime for planting
Right now is the time to improve your yard. A lot of people try to improve their yards in March and April, but then the May and June droughts threaten their new plants and run up their water bills. But if you plant right now, the summer rainy season will give your new plants two or three months of wonderful watering, and then the gradual decrease in temperature will get them ready for their first winter. By next spring, they will be a year ahead and much stronger for the May and June droughts.
And while you're planting, why not choose native Florida drought-tolerant plants? After all, water is going to get more expensive. I got help finding those plants from the experts at the Pinellas County Botanical Gardens, Florida Yards and Neighborhoods Program, at 582-2100 and from the volunteers at the Florida Native Plant Society.
-- Early McMullen Sorenson, Dunedin
What did you do as Charley loomed?
Did you follow emergency officials' advice and prepare for the possible landfall of Hurricane Charley in Pinellas County by boarding up your windows, evacuating, collecting food and water, clearing your yard, etc.? Why or why not? What, if anything, would you do differently next time after observing the destruction Charley left in its wake in Central Florida?
We would like to hear about your experiences and perspective on hurricane preparations. Write a letter to the editor from your computer by getting on the Internet and typing in www.sptimes.com/letters Fill in the form and send it. Or you may fax a letter to 727 445-4119, or mail it to Letters to the Editor, St. Petersburg Times, 710 Court St., Clearwater, FL 33756. Letters must include your name, address and phone number to be considered for publication.
-- Your voice counts
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