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Hurricane center's Sheets will speak

Bob Sheets, who is always at the center of the eye of national hurricane forecasting, is coming to Citrus County on Wednesday to be the featured speaker at a seminar to heighten the public's awareness of hurricane planning.

"I think everybody who lives in this county should know they have to plan for a storm," said Rusty Harry, Citrus emergency operations assistant.

The public is invited to free sessions at 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. at the Curtis Peterson Auditorium in the Lecanto school complex.

Sheets, who is director of the National Hurricane Center in Coral Gables, will speak at both sessions.

Both will start with presentations by Harry, the American Red Cross and the School Board. "Everybody will be telling what they are doing to plan," Harry said. "I will be telling people what they should be packing" to take to a shelter in the event a hurricane is expected to hit.

Sheets also will discuss hurricane preparedness and show slides depicting the devastation of last year's Hurricane Andrew.

Harry said that a hurricane can wreak havoc across the county, not just the coastal areas. "Hernando, Inverness and Floral City might feel very comfortable, but they could still have the storm come and affect them," she said. "If you think about Hurricane Hugo, Hugo went 200 miles inland and it did as much damage inland as it did on the coast."

Hurricane season extends from June 1 through Nov. 30.

A hurricane hitting Citrus could make the March storm seem like a picnic.

But on the upside, Harry said, "Hurricanes you can prepare for. There's no excuse for any deaths in a hurricane because we have warnings and time to prepare for them."

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