Sunday, August 15, 2004

All's Well In Hendry/Glades

LABELLE, FL. (Aug. 15, 2004) -- LaBelle, Clewiston, and Moore Haven all
missed the fury of the Friday the 13th Hurricane Charley. The closest the
Category 4 eye of the storm came was about 40 miles from the LaBelle
Airport as it passed through Charlotte Harbor to the northwest of Hendry
county through Punta Gorda.
The storm traveled northeastward up the Peace River Valley tearing through
Arcadia, Wauchula, Lake Wales, Bartow, and lighter winds through Orlando
and northeast Florida. The most serious damage was at Punta Gorda and
through the Arcadia area of Southwest Florida. There is an abundance of
mobile homes in the SW Florida area and consequently they were the most
numerous housing casualties of the high winds.
Hendry and Glades county had reported "tornadoes" not confirmed, and were
probably micro bursts of high winds coming from the numerous storm cell
feeder bands around the perimeter of the hurricane eye. Reported high winds
were in the Clewiston area and northwest of Moore Haven. There were downed
trees and damage to some homes as limbs hit roofs and parked vehicles
around the area. Electricity went out momentarily throughout the area and
some wide spread areas of longer electrical outage. The city of LaBelle had
an electrical problem in late afternoon, shutting off power to the Hendry
County Sheriff's office, the jail, and most importantly the Hendry County
Emergency Management Operations Center housed in a room of the Sheriff's
office. When the electric went out in LaBelle it was discovered to the
horror of the emergency management personnel that a backup generator did
not provide electric to all the needed equipment in the emergency
operations room. Computers and other vital equipment were down for about an
hour while waiting for power repairs. At the same time, the special needs
emergency shelter at the VFW hall on SR29 in LaBelle lost power and
personnel could not get it connected to the building power until Hendry
county building maintenance personnel got it up and running 45 minutes
later. The shelter housed nurses and citizens needing special medical care.

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