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Jeanne's wake littered with fresh damage

Published Aug. 28, 2005

PALM HARBOR: Gusts from Hurricane Jeanne blew shingles and tar paper off sections of roofs in the Country Place Apartments on Tampa Road.

"Where you see plywood, that's a leaker," said Dirk Kerr, maintenance supervisor.

Kerr said many units had leaks after shingles blew off, some even had drywall falling into living rooms.

"We're moving those residents out and into units that are safe," he said.

Shane Anyan said she was one of those with roof damage. She had picked up a newspaper so she could look through apartment ads.

Denise Walthall said the roof didn't cause water damage in her apartment, but water did get in around her windows, which was only one of her problems.

She had no power in her apartment, the telephone wouldn't work without electricity and she said residents had been asked to hold off on flushing toilets.

"Other than that, we're just fine," she said. "We're pretty much out of the world right now."

An awning sheltering boat trailers collapsed at Fischer Marine Services at 37517 U.S. 19. The structure came down at about 8 p.m. Sunday, after the worst parts of the storm had passed, company owner Bob Fischer said.

"It must've just kept weakening it and weakening it and weakening it," he said. "And it finally just cut loose."

Fischer said the awning would cost about $12,000 to replace. None of the trailers under the structure or any of the boats around it were damaged seriously, he said.

"I actually came in expecting much worse this morning," Fischer said. "We got really lucky."

EAST LAKE: East Lake, like many other areas, had trees down, scattered yard debris and spotty power outages.

"We had a tree take out the light pole, no big deal," said Tony Evans of East Lake Woodlands. "We got off very lightly, no structural damage at all."

Evans was out cleaning his yard near the spot where a light pole had fallen on S Woodlands Drive during the night. The pole was cordoned off with tape that said "danger high voltage" and cars detoured around the obstruction on a side street.

At Brooker Creek Elementary School, plant operators were caulking the seams left when aluminum awnings over the doors were ripped away from several portable classrooms. The men said they had just finished cutting up a big tree that had fallen within an inch of hitting a first-grade classroom.

The school was without power and classrooms were getting humid with no air-conditioning, said head plant operator Mike Kelly. Kelly said they think the storm blew a transformer at the school.

"If we don't get that up, we'll have problems," he said.

On Old Keystone Road, portions of the tin roof on a large storage building took flight during the storm on the grounds of St. Athanasius Syrian Orthodox Church. The roof had a large hole on one side of the building, which is used to store mostly chairs and tables.

Father John Kouki said the building is not insured. His nearby residence and the church were without power, probably a good thing for a man further down the road who was clearing a tree off a power line with a chain saw.

Residents were lined up at the Pinellas County yard waste dropoff site on Keystone Road near East Lake Road, but the line flowed smoothly. Many were back on their second or third trips.

At about 2 p.m., public works engineering specialist Steve Toth had counted 596 trips residents had made to dump debris.

When he spotted a woman reaching for her driver's license as she came in, he told her she could put it away. With back-to-back hurricanes, Toth is getting to know residents by sight.

"Welcome back," he said.

TARPON SPRINGS: Streets just cleared of debris from Frances the previous Sunday were again covered with branches and a few downed wires. Wind damaged scores of mobile homes, but none of them so seriously that they couldn't be lived in, police said.

On Monday morning, crews were out assessing damage, and all major roads were open with operating traffic signals, police Chief Mark LeCouris said.

Jeanne's wrath left fewer problems in Tarpon Springs than Frances did, Mayor Beverley Billiris said.

"I don't think we have as many trees down, but I think we have bigger trees down," she said.

One of those was a 75-foot-tall tree uprooted from Sam and Denise Markonios' front yard on N Florida Avenue.

Monday morning, two public services workers were back trying to figure out what to do about the tree, which had been moved off the road. And Markonios, a retired Tarpon Springs police officer, was mourning the tree, which bloomed with yellow flowers and attracted so many honey bees that he and his wife would sit beneath the canopy and listen to their buzzing.

"It was a pretty tree," he said, while peeling steamed shrimp that he shared with the maintenance crew.

At Linger Longer Mobile Home & R.V. Park on Anclote Road, many homes suffered minor wind damage, with sections of aluminum bent out of shape, and tree branches and pine needles were scattered everywhere.

"It's like a funeral. No one likes them, you go, and a few days later you get back to normal," said Gregory Rohrdanz, a recently returned snowbird from Buffalo, N.Y. "The storm's dead. It's over. Back to normal."

With no power in their mobile home in Sun Valley Estates, Margie and Susan Sands went to the beach at Fred Howard Park.

Conditions were perfect for sunbathing, but Susan Sands said, "I'd rather have power, rather have everything the way it was."

OLDSMAR: The storm surge from Frances flooded parts of Oldsmar, but Jeanne caused far more damage, uprooting trees, downing power lines and breaking several water lines, City Clerk Lisa Lene said.

Ten mobile homes at Gull Aire Village were damaged, Lene said, but most damage was minor.

The city pier at R.E. Olds Park, which sustained $100,000 worth of damage from Frances, was not damaged further by Jeanne, Lene said. Fireworks will be launched from the pier as part of Celebrate Oldsmar this Saturday.

It will take two to three weeks to clean up the debris, Lene said.

With a loud thud in the middle of the storm, Bill and Katharine Yonker heard a large tree topple next to their Bayview Boulevard home.

"I watched it during the day. It kept leaning a little bit, and then leaning a little bit more," Katharine Yonker said.

Eventually, it fell, slightly denting their car. She said she was grateful that several other large trees closer to the house stayed put.

"If a tree had to go, God picked the right one," she said.

Staff writers Theresa Blackwell, Nick Collins, Nora Koch, Aaron Sharockman, Catherine E. Shoichet and Shannon Tan contributed to this report.

Sean Haight, 11, left, Marc Perez, 11, center, and Shane Haight, 9, all of Citrus Park, climb on a tree Monday that Jeanne blew down at R.E. Olds Park in Oldsmar. During the storm, they donned skates and went out with a sheet, trying to create a sail. "It was fun, but we thought it would be more dangerous," Marc said.

A traffic sign dangles Monday morning after being knocked upside down on the Dunedin Causeway. The sign was battered by the winds of Hurricane Jeanne.

THE OCEAN'S MIGHT: A sailboat sits on the north side of the Dunedin Causeway on Monday after having washed ashore due to Hurricane Jeanne's high winds Sunday.