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Pinellas residents brace their properties and wait for Fay

Volunteer Dick Martin helps Dunedin resident Heather Myers fill some sandbags while her daughter Bella, 5, watches from the car Monday. Dunedin was providing the dirt and sandbags for residents who were preparing for tropical storm winds or worse.

JIM DAMASKE | Times

Volunteer Dick Martin helps Dunedin resident Heather Myers fill some sandbags while her daughter Bella, 5, watches from the car Monday. Dunedin was providing the dirt and sandbags for residents who were preparing for tropical storm winds or worse.

Few at Mariners Cove Mobile Home Park were getting ready for the storm Monday afternoon even though the community has a history of flooding.

But Nilsa Aponte and her family remember how torrential rains 2 1/2 years ago drenched the park at 5796 Ulmerton Road and damaged dozens of homes within a few hours.

"From the last street all the way up to here, it got flooded," said Aponte, 22, who lives with her parents, her 3-year-old daughter and her 6-month-old son.

The flooding displaced her family for a week and ruined their refrigerator and a couch. Their floor was soaked and sinking in spots and a big chunk of their living room ceiling was left hanging.

"This morning I woke up and saw the news and I went through the food pantry," Aponte said.

She and her mom packed diapers, baby food and clothes. And they started stacking electrical equipment on higher shelves.

They planned to go to Wal-Mart a bit later to buy water, canned foods and juices. And they will probably stay at a friend's house.

"I'm also getting first-aid kits ready because my dad is diabetic and I get seizures," Aponte said.

Largo has high-water vehicles and flat-bottom boats ready to get people out of the park if the storm hits hard there, said fire Chief Mike Wallace.

But Aponte's neighbor, Kathy Hidalgo, said she's not sure if she's going to evacuate because her family did so unnecessarily a few years ago.

"Last time they told us to evacuate, we went all the way to Orlando and we got right in the middle of it," said Hidalgo, 15.

Pinellas residents brace their properties and wait for Fay 08/18/08 [Last modified: Monday, August 18, 2008 10:14pm]
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