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  1. #1
    District Chief distchief60b's Avatar
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    Default Pinellas County Cities Breathe Sigh of Relief after Dennis but others face recovery

    St. Petersburg Times


    Hurricane Dennis
    Dennis leaves behind downed trees, high water
    Flooding is temporary in Tarpon Springs and Oldsmar, with water receding by Monday. No serious damage is reported.
    By NORA KOCH, Times Staff Writer
    Published July 12, 2005

    -----------------------------



    TARPON SPRINGS - Moments after the television newscaster warned that an outer band from Hurricane Dennis would soon sweep through town, Kally Mavrakis heard a loud crash.

    It sounded like lightning, said Mavrakis, 25.

    It was actually a 45-foot pine tree falling onto the roof of the townhome on Anclote Road where she lives with her husband, George, 32.

    "Two seconds after the news said it'll hit Tarpon Springs" a gusty wind from Hurricane Dennis toppled the tree Saturday afternoon, Mavrakis said.

    Residents throughout North Pinellas watched as Dennis passed up the coast, winds gusting and rains pouring. But there was little damage in North Pinellas beyond a few toppled trees and some minor, temporary street flooding, according to local officials.

    In Tarpon Springs, the felled tree might have been the storm's calling card, fire Chief Kevin Bowman said. No one was injured by the tree, which Mavrakis said fell through her front window and caused water damage in the attic of her home in Fairview Estates. A tree service removed it and George Mavrakis and a neighbor put a tarp over the roof, she said. They are waiting for an insurance adjuster to estimate the damage.

    But Tarpon Springs was prepared for more significant damage with a partial activation of its Emergency Operations Center on Saturday morning, Bowman said.

    "Kind of like everybody, we planned for the big event just in case it turned our way," said fire Chief Kevin Bowman. "Happily it didn't."

    On Sunday, water covered the intersections of Dodecanese Boulevard and Hope and Athens streets on the Sponge Docks in Tarpon Springs and Shore Drive west of Devonshire Street in Oldsmar. In both towns, the water had receded by Monday.

    In Oldsmar, there was a little more than a foot of water Sunday in the front yard of Dolores Mortenson's stilt home on Shore Drive.

    "This is as high as I've ever seen it," said Mortenson, 81, who has lived on Shore Drive for 10 years.

    Mortenson, who retired after working in the office of her late husband's electrical contracting business, said she and her daughter usually leave for a hurricane but decided to stay this time.

    "It's really quite exciting, because it shows you what kind of person you are and how your nerves work," she said.

    --Times staff writer Richard Danielson contributed to this report. [Last modified July 12, 2005, 04:56:32]
    Last edited by captstanm1; 07-26-2005 at 04:46 PM.
    09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
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    IACOJ Minister of Southern Comfort
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    BMI Investigator
    ------------------------------
    The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.


  2. #2
    District Chief distchief60b's Avatar
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    Panhandle residents begin cleanup
    By Dara Kam

    Special to the Palm Beach Post

    Monday, July 11, 2005

    Hurricane Dennis tore out vital blocs of coastal highway and left no oyster house unscathed in the Big Bend, and caused two additional deaths elsewhere, state officials said early Monday evening.

    A 55-year-old man died Monday from carbon monoxide poisoning caused by running a generator in the garage of his Escambia County home, and a 13-year-old boy drowned off Fernandina Beach while swimming during a flood watch, bringing the statewide death toll to four.

    A three-year-old boy was killed Friday when his father backed over him as the family prepared to evacuate their Walton County home and a 26-year-old Broward County man was electrocuted early Sunday, apparently by stepping on a downed power line.

    Lt. Gov. Toni Jennings and other state officials toured Franklin and Wakulla counties, where flooding reached historic levels and residents in spots remained without power, water or telephone service. Statewide, about 273,000 customers remained without power at 4 p.m. Monday evening.

    U.S. Highway 98, the scenic route linking Gulf Coast communities along the Big Bend, was impassable in several locales in Franklin County, Department of Transportation Secretary Denver Stutler said after an aerial survey.

    Portions of a 20-mile stretch of the highway between Carrabelle Beach and Eastpoint, just west of Apalachicola, crumbled or were washed away by the storm's eight to ten-foot surge. Eastward, County Road 370 was washed out on Alligator Point and property there is accessible only on foot or by boat.

    Engineers have no estimate yet on how long it will take to reopen the U.S. Highway 98, but Stutler said the plan is to open at least one lane as quickly as possible.

    "If that 20-miles stretch is not repaired, it's close to a 100-mile detour to facilitate that same east-west connectivity. It's critically vital on the coast and that community has been significantly impacted," Stutler said. "It's a beautiful scenic road and it's really the only artery if you want to go from the Tallahassee area to Apalachicola."

    Transportation officials had planned to shift U.S. Highway 98 farther inland to accommodate a massive development planned by the St. Joe Corp., but Stutler said that reopening the existing road should be the priority.

    "We can move that portion a lot faster and restore that road system if we restore it to the existing condition. The engineering and the work required to realign the road will only delay its ability to open," Stutler said. "We want to get the road up and running as fast as possible."

    Farther east in Wakulla County, the tiny fishing village of St. Marks was flooded early Sunday by neck-high water, causing damage to homes and businesses and dumping mud and debris into restaurants along the banks of the St. Marks river. The storm tide, up to eight feet, left boats strewn along side roads and buried in the woods and brought some boats off their dry dock storage in a riverside marina.

    Despite the destruction and continued inclement weather that canceled Jennings' visit to some Panhandle counties, state officials remained upbeat.

    "We think things are still optimistic," said Department of Community Affairs Secretary Thadeus Cohen.

    Search and rescue efforts by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission have been completed, and FWC director of law enforcement Julie Jones said she was confident that no one remained stranded in their homes or other buildings at this time.

    Engineers are still inspecting the foundations of about eight condominiums in Navarre Beach damaged by last summer's Hurricane Ivan that officials fear may have further deteriorated in the 120-plus m.p.h. winds and storm surge that tore through the region where Dennis made landfall about 3:45 p.m. Sunday.

    Federal emergency officials are now scrutinizing about 3,000 trailers in Santa Rosa County that were used as temporary housing by residents whose homes were destroyed by Ivan, and are completing damage assessments in 10 counties, including Franklin and Wakulla, that were not included in President George W. Bush's individual disaster aid announced yesterday. Residents of just two Panhandle counties, Santa Rosa and Escambia, are now eligible for economic and housing assistance.

    Damage to the oyster houses in the Big Bend could prove a major loss for the region which suffered a financial downward spiral in 1995 when a constitutional amendment barring commercial fisherman from using nets was approved by voters.

    Cohen said he hoped to use some of the unemployed oyster workers on temporary jobs clearing debris and helping to repair the coastal highway, similar to job shifting that took place after last year's historic hurricane season.
    09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
    ------------------------------
    IACOJ Minister of Southern Comfort
    "Purple Hydrant" Recipient (3 Times)
    BMI Investigator
    ------------------------------
    The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.

  3. #3
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    PublicationailyNews; Date:Jul 11, 2005; Section:Front page; Page Number:1


    A LOW BLOW

    Dennis hits Ivan-scarred residents the hardest, but even they admit that they ‘dodged a bullet ’Navarre bears brunt of storm

    By ZAC ANDERSON and KARI C. BARLOW Daily News Staff Writers



    NAVARRE — John Larker waded down Thresher Street Saturday evening, bending his head against Hurricane Dennis’ final rains, to see how his waterfront home survived the storm.

    Five weeks ago the longtime Navarre resident moved back into the three-story peach stucco house, which overlooks the Santa Rosa Sound.

    Like countless homes in the neighborhood, it was heavily damaged by last September’s Hurricane Ivan.

    This time around, he returned to only minimal damage.

    “It’s not as bad as Ivan,” said Larker, who has lived in Navarre for 23 years.

    Larker was among thousands of residents who emerged from hotel rooms, boarded-up houses and shelters Sunday to inspect the damage that Hurricane Dennis left across Santa Rosa County.

    Some of the worst storm damage could be found on Navarre Beach, where buildings and roads were destroyed.

    In Tiger Point — where Hurricane Dennis made landfall — the scene was disturbingly familiar for a few unlucky homeowners but pleasantly surprising for most.

    In fact, many people were elated to find that Dennis’ wrath was far less destructive than forecast.

    “We thought it was going to be a whole lot worse,” said Navarre resident Glen Ashby, who ventured out to a local convenience store a few hours after the storm. “There was no scary part. We turned off the TV and played Bingo!”

    When Ashby and other residents arrived at the store, employees were hurriedly handing out free ice cream and sandwiches, items they said were sure to ruin before the county restored electricity.

    For Larker, who has lived in Navarre for 23 years, the storm scenario is a familiar one.

    “I’ve built my pier back six or seven times,” he said. “But it’s worth living here.”

    Residents had feared catastrophic damage similar to what Ivan left behind last September.

    “It wasn’t as bad as we thought,” said Sherri Elliott, who headed to Navarre Park with China, her 2-year-old Yorkie.

    “Just listening to the news before it came” was the scariest part of the hurricane, Elliott added.

    On Navarre Beach, Dennis’ fierce winds smashed an island landmark and washed away sections of the main road.

    The full extent of the storm damage was not known Sunday because debris limited how far emergency workers could safely explore.

    One thing was certain, though; the damage was far less extensive than after Hurricane Ivan.

    The causeway at the end of the Navarre Beach Bridge remained intact and there seemed to be less sand covering roads and parking lots.

    “We’re a lot better off than after Ivan,” said Kevin Rudzki, a Navarre Beach business owner and deputy fire chief, as he sat in his fire truck across the road from his destroyed business.

    Dennis decimated Rudzki’s family business, the popular beach bar Juana’s Pagoda.

    After withstanding Ivan, Dennis caused the thatchedroof bar to cave in on itself.

    “Ivan weakened it,” he said. “That’s the reason it collapsed.”

    Despite his personal loss, Rudzki said he was “greatly relieved” that Dennis didn’t cause more damage.

    Firefighters and other emergency workers plan to conduct a search and rescue mission on Navarre Beach today.

    They couldn’t say when property owners would be allowed back on the barrier island.

    “We’ll go street to street assessing damage tomorrow, and the sheriff will decide when we can let people back on,” said Santa Rosa County Sheriff ’s Sgt. Bart Bray.

    The wind still howled, and rain was coming down as Sunday afternoon turned into evening on Navarre Beach.

    Emergency lights blinked in the upper floors of the condominium complexes.

    Sand covered everything.

    At the end of the bridge, out on the beach near the water, a television satellite truck that tried to ride out the storm was tipped over and half-buried in sand. A gas pump at the Tom Thumb was knocked over, and power lines drooped everywhere.

    The wail of security alarms could be heard in the distance.

    In Tiger Point, Dr. David Baldwin stepped around dead fish, a bathroom sink and a variety of other debris as he surveyed the damage to his home Sunday afternoon.

    Still wearing his blue hospital scrubs after rushing from his job as an emergency room doctor, Baldwin was relieved to find only moderate flooding but also extremely frustrated.

    “This is no way to live,” he said.

    Baldwin, his wife, and their 4-year-old son had been living in a trailer in their driveway since Hurricane Ivan hit 10 months ago.

    The repairs on their house on Ganges Trail near the Santa Rosa Sound were nearly finished when Dennis brought another foot and a half of water and the promise of more rebuilding.

    “We’re probably going to patch it up and leave,” Baldwin said as he stood among the debris in his yard. “I don’t want my son to think it’s normal to constantly lose your home.”

    The Baldwin family home sustained some of the worst damage Dennis had to offer in Tiger Point.

    Another home’s roof partially collapsed, and buildings within about 100 feet of the sound took on water, but the neighborhood was in relatively good shape, considering it was ground zero when Dennis touched land.

    Tiger Point resident Debbie Carroll had three feet of water in her home after Ivan and sailboats in her back yard, which sits about 300 feet from the sound.

    “This was absolutely nothing compared to Ivan,” said Carroll, who sustained no flooding or major damage. “I really can’t tell you how pleased we are. God was smiling on us today.”


    • Staff Writer Kari C. Barlow can be reached at 863-1111, Ext. 432, or karib@nwfdailynews.com
    09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
    ------------------------------
    IACOJ Minister of Southern Comfort
    "Purple Hydrant" Recipient (3 Times)
    BMI Investigator
    ------------------------------
    The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.

  4. #4
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    Flooding, two tornadoes reported in nearby counties

    Area counties mostly were spared the brunt of Dennis' wrath.

    By TIFFANY PAKKALA

    Sun staff writer
    July 11. 2005 6:01AM


    Hurricane Dennis packed a powerful punch when it hit land on Florida's Panhandle on Sunday, but it was little more than a typical storm in Alachua County.

    Police dispatchers across the region reported the usual "slow Sunday" pace, with only a few fallen trees and power outages in the wake of Dennis' winds.

    The strongest gusts came the night before, when an hour-long rain band passed through at about 10 p.m. Saturday. Those winds topped 43 mph, said Meteorologist Jason Hess of the National Weather Service. Sunday was milder with wind speed peaking at 28 mph.

    Nearby Suwannee County saw a tougher side of Dennis, however, when two tornadoes struck.

    County Coordinator and Emergency Management Director John Wooley said one tornado damaged at least three buildings, tearing the roof off a home on Peacock Lake late Saturday night. Another twister Sunday afternoon hit the northwest edge of the county, uprooting trees in a rural area.

    In Dixie, Levy and Taylor counties, flooding along the coast caused minor property damage.

    There were no known human injuries in either county.

    The worst reported power outage in Alachua County was on Archer Road near Tower Road Sunday afternoon. It left between 50 and 60 households without electricity after some trees fell on power lines, said Gainesville Regional Utilities spokeswoman Marsha Anderson.

    That was "less than what you'd see in a typical summer storm," she said, adding, "We're just really lucky."

    Flood and tornado watches were put into effect in the county as a precaution, however neither materialized.

    Hess said the storm brought between 1 and 2 inches of rain to most of the county, though a few areas had between 2 and 3 inches.

    Most county residents were grateful for the mild storm, but one Bronson resident bored with the local weather decided to leave town and head toward the storm Sunday morning.

    Keith Adams, 21, a volunteer firefighter and car salesman, headed to Panama City with three disposable cameras and a plan to find Dennis. He found a pier covered in water and ventured out to get a photo, but was kicked out by police who told him to leave or risk arrest. Later, he was kicked off another pier along Mexico Beach. He continued trying to reach Pensacola, but came across one closed road after the next.

    The aspiring photographer ran into similar difficulties last year chasing Hurricane Charley in Orlando and Hurricane Frances on Cocoa Beach, but he said he keeps returning to the storms, drawn by a "rush" he gets from being there.

    While scouring Santa Rosa County for an open gas station Sunday, Adams said over his cellular phone, "Some people spend $10,000 a year to hunt. They set up camp, freeze in the cold weather and maybe they'll kill one deer all season. To me, when a hurricane's coming, it's pretty much a guaranteed thrill as long as you're brave enough to go out and find it."

    He added that he draws the line and heads home when he fears the wind will overturn his car.

    Another county crew headed out toward the Panhandle later in the day, but they weren't thrill seekers. They were a Gainesville Fire Rescue crew, deployed to Havana, in Gadsden County, with one of their engines to assist in rescue work.

    Lt. George Braun, driver Byron McGriff and firefighters Mark Sturks and Wes McQueen are expected to remain in Havana for the next week, filling in at fire stations, fielding calls and assisting fellow firefighters however possible.

    In Alachua County, wet weather is expected to continue today as the deep southerly flow of the hurricane passes over.

    "Thunderstorms should be firing off" today, thanks to the combination of precipitation and high temperatures, Hess said. Tuesday's forecast calls for a 40 to 50 percent chance of rain.
    09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
    ------------------------------
    IACOJ Minister of Southern Comfort
    "Purple Hydrant" Recipient (3 Times)
    BMI Investigator
    ------------------------------
    The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.

  5. #5
    District Chief distchief60b's Avatar
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    Default niceville dodges the bullet

    09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
    ------------------------------
    IACOJ Minister of Southern Comfort
    "Purple Hydrant" Recipient (3 Times)
    BMI Investigator
    ------------------------------
    The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.

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