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Hurricanes elude definite forecasts by their nature

Published August 22, 2004

Re: Hurricane forecasts missed the mark, letter, Aug. 16.

The Times needed no more than 72 hours to publish the first letter from a person criticizing the National Weather Service for failing to predict Hurricane Charley's sudden right turn over Captiva Island and into Central Florida.

How naive.

As a 53-year resident of Florida, I have learned to respect hurricanes the way I respect lightning and alligators - all unpredictable, all potentially deadly.

A hurricane is a tornado with a 40-mile diameter. A hurricane can stop, turn in a circle, and go off in a different direction. All of Florida is at risk during hurricane season.

Any resident who went to bed Thursday evening thinking he knew where Charley would go on Friday hasn't been here long enough to understand the problem.

Do we need one Charley each season to drive that lesson home?

-- Al Galbraith, Clearwater

Thanks to all who provided shelter and persuaded residents to seek it

We had planned to stay home. WFLA-Ch. 8, with its constant, complete coverage, convinced us that we needed to find a safe place because of our special needs and we were so kindly led to a local high school.

We were met with a smile and the kind hand of a volunteer, Alice. Alice assisted my husband with the many items we would be needing for our comfort. There were many folks already set up in the long, safe hall, and everyone was friendly and concerned.

Our special spot accommodated our little mattress and wheelchair very comfortably. There were plenty of TVs to watch the storm. The long lines to be fed were organized and moved quickly to feed all of us adequately. The volunteers were helpful and friendly.

We are so grateful to have had a safe, friendly, well-organized place to be during the storm and thank everyone involved.

-- Don and Nan Kaag, Clearwater

Show your relief with donations to the less lucky, including animals

For those of us that have been spared Charley, I think we should dig deep in our pockets and give to those who were not so lucky. Don't forget about the local animal shelters in our area that are taking on an overwhelming task of caring for the animals that were affected in addition to the ones in their already crowded shelter.

-- Belinda Blease, Largo

Quit complaining and be glad jobs, homes and lives were spared

Everyone in the entire Tampa Bay area should stop complaining about the inconvenience of being evacuated and/or having to board up their homes in preparation for Hurricane Charley and be eternally grateful that we were not hit by the storm. Businesses closed up and lost money, employees lost money. But we still have our homes, our jobs and our lives.

Also, I think if everyone in this area would donate even $1 to the hurricane victims' relief fund, it would generate millions of dollars.

The news and especially the weather forecasters did an excellent job.

-- Barbara E. McCann, Largo


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