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16 August 2004 @ 10:52 am
Hurricane Charley, the catch-all public post.  
This is my catch-all public post about Hurricane Charley, which hit my hometown of Port Charlotte and hit my current home of the Orlando area. I made many posts during the hurricane, but I ended up marking them in a filter that no one can currently view. If you want to be able to see the posts again, ask and I'll add you to the filter. I appreciate the comments everyone made, thank you.

Whatever is in quotation marks is taken from my original post from that time.

Wednesday, August 11th, 2004 09:01 pm

I made plans to go to Port Charlotte on Thursday. The hurricane was a category 2, and it was believed it would hit Tampa. Being born and raised in Port Charlotte, I wasn't worried about a category 2.

Thursday, August 12th, 2004 03:28 pm

I cancelled my plans to go to Port Charlotte. I had even packed up the car. However, Pinellas county was under evacuation orders, and the major interstates of I-75 and I-4 were clogged. Mara had to deal with that during her drive home that day from Tampa to Port Charlotte.

Friday, August 13th, 2004 03:04 pm
It went from a 2 to a 4, it went from hitting Tampa to hitting Punta Gorda and Port Charlotte. I had spoken to my niece Michelle twice by this point. The first time, when things seemed less serious, she planned to stay with her family in their home in Punta Gorda. The second time, she was under orders to take her sister Cassandra and go to their father's house, my brother Mark, in North Port.

"Okay, watching The Weather Channel is not for the faint of heart. I was watching the meteorologist struggling to stand up in Fort Myers, and all I can think about is how that is a stone's throw away from Port Charlotte, Punta Gorda, and North Port.

"I wasn't worried when it was a category 2. No one was worried when they thought it was going to stay a category 2. But it went to 3, and now to 4, and all I can do is wait until afterwards to see how my family and friends are fairing down there."

KellyB83: It's just weird hearing "port charlotte, port charlotte, port charlotte, charlotte harbor" on CNN, Fox News, etc
victoriapii: I know

Friday, August 13th, 2004 about 04:00 pm
This I did not make a post about. This I just remember, because I can't forget. It was the last time I spoke to Katie. It's the conversation I heard in my head dozens of times the past few days.


Saturday, August 14th, 2004 07:34 am
I spoke to my brother Mark. He and the girls were fine in North Port. No word on their mother Donna in Punta Gorda.

"We're fine here in Celebration. I started off upstairs, but the house shook a few times. Power would only be lost for a few seconds at a time, so I watched the news downstairs hoping for more footage of PC. I didn't see anymore, although that was to be expected since night had fallen. There were a few thumps outside, but this morning the house looks fine except for a shutter that fell off. Also, our trees are bent. But that's it."

This began the day of trying to get ahold of people.

Saturday, August 14th, 2004 04:21 pm

I tried all day to get ahold of Katie. I even tried to call her father in Clermont and her uncle in Kissimmee, with no luck. I tried all day to get ahold of Mara. I even tried calling Franco, with no luck. I later found out through her LJ friends page that she was all right. Diane got ahold of Linda, who stuck it out at the school she is vice-principal of in Lee County. Linda had not been to see her house in Punta Gorda yet, where the ashes of her husband remained.

"I spoke to Michelle for the first time since yesterday morning before it hit, so I feel a little better. Even though I knew she was okay, I really needed to hear her say it. She went over to her house, where her mom Donna was, and apparently it's okay. No flooding, just some damage to the structure. No electricity, no telephones, but that was to be expected."

Saturday, August 14th, 2004 05:08 pm

Pictures of Charley in Celebration.

I am not an early morning person, but I couldn't sleep past seven this morning. This morning's paper:

This tree smashed the Celebration sign that circled it.

Toppled trees, a common sight all over town.

Debris everywhere, although many major bits were cleared from streets throughout the day.

This is on 192, a few minutes from Celebration. Notice the busted water pipe spouting in the lower left hand corner.

Another common sight.

My nametag, and why my coordinators are helping me out:

Saturday, August 14th, 2004 09:00 pm

Pictures of Port Charlotte and Punta Gorda.

This is right next to Pulsafeeder in PG, where my mom used to work.

Boats, not in water.

Trees. Sideways.

Old exit 29, before they were renumbered.

Beachcomber Liquor Store, which Diane says was right next to the Jade Fountain and Westchester Gold, which was also leveled.

Unbelievable-looking. It's Gainsboro Road, in El Jobean.

This woman just saw her destroyed home for the first time and was informed two of her neighbors were killed.

They didn't say the name of this church, just that it was in PG and had only 25 members. Apparently the pastor said, "It's the people, not the steeple," in regards to rebuilding.

Marshal law, I guess.

Charlotte Harbor sunset.

Photos, quotes, and info from http://www.newscoast.com/ Bandwidth is being wonky, so if you see red X's or your browser's equivalent, um, oops. It'll sort itself out eventually.

Sunday, August 15th, 2004 08:56 pm

"Linda, vice-principal of a school that's been serving as a shelter in Lee county, returned to her home in Punta Gorda. She didn't stay long.

They turned the Winn-Dixie into a morgue.

She thought she would feel better if she saw it all.

She says her house smells like death.

There's a 'huge gaping hole' in her roof. A neighbor retrieved Jerry's ashes for her, and a few other belongings.

She went to the Allstate catastrophe trailer and said, 'You're my insurance company.'

They said, 'Do you have damage?'

My mom asked, 'Are you sure? You think there's dead people...around?'

'Yes, I'm sure,' Linda said.

Baby steps, right? If you gain a little ground, you need to know you can always lose a little ground."

Monday, August 16th, 2004 11:00 am

I still haven't heard from Katie.

I still see devastating pictures of my hometown.

It's not over for any of us.

Monday, August 16th, 2004 11:24 am

This is what happens when your friend's ex-boyfriend shows up online after a disaster. He's in Ohio.

victoriapii: hey Gunner
victoriapii: It's Victoria, Katie's friend
gunner62497: oh hey whats up
gunner62497: long time no see
victoriapii: I was hoping you could tell me
victoriapii: Have you heard anything about Katie or her family?
gunner62497: i did from someone else and as far as i can tell everything is ok
victoriapii: okay, thank you
gunner62497: anytime

which happened just as Kelly sent me this link.

Monday, August 16th, 2004 12:00 pm

Katie has been trying to get ahold of me as much as I have been trying to get ahold of her.

She's in Clermont at her dad's. She told me wonderful and horrible things. But I get to see her today, so I am happy. However, my happiness originally expressed itself in me yelling at her. Yes, I am one of those sorts of irrational people.

Donate to the Red Cross by calling 1-800-HELP NOW.
Current Mood: tiredtired
Kalionthefloor on August 16th, 2004 10:15 am (UTC)
Oh god, Victoria.... I really hope everything can pull through for you and your family...
Victoriabikutoria on August 17th, 2004 05:56 pm (UTC)
Thank you, I appreciate it. The best thing is we're not alone, and the worst thing is we're not alone. The hardest part is how consuming it is.
M.jadewing on August 16th, 2004 10:42 am (UTC)
Oh man, hon. I'm so glad your friend made it, I know how worried you've been about her. You've got all our support, and so do your friends and family, okay? I hope nothing's been damaged too badly...
Victoriabikutoria on August 17th, 2004 05:58 pm (UTC)
Thank you, your comments over the past couple of days have definitely helped me maintain sanity. Things are damaged, but that's what insurance is for. Most everyone has somewhere to go - it really makes you appreciate how important friends and family are.
shadowchaser851 on September 25th, 2004 10:17 pm (UTC)
Hurricane Survival: 1 rope, and some stupid stuff I won't use...and I guess I'll take my sister.....
Victoriabikutoria on September 26th, 2004 05:43 am (UTC)
Re: Hurricane Survival: 1 rope, and some stupid stuff I won't use...and I guess I'll take my sister.
The other one is still here (here being a bit south of Orlando) :) Do you live in PC, Orlando, or neither?
shadowchaser851 on September 26th, 2004 03:39 pm (UTC)
Re: Hurricane Survival: 1 rope, and some stupid stuff I won't use...and I guess I'll take my sister.
PC, tell me something about yourself
Victoriabikutoria on October 4th, 2004 04:04 pm (UTC)
Re: Hurricane Survival: 1 rope, and some stupid stuff I won't use...and I guess I'll take my sister.
I didn't learn how to snap my fingers until I was sixteen. Your turn.