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Jeanne wields wind as weapon of choice

It wasn't so much the water. It was Jeanne's wind.

Across south Pinellas, residents coped Monday with widespread power outages and scattered damage to roofs, boats and signs. While there was little flooding, beaches lost more sand.

Sunset Beach on the southern tip of Treasure Island lost nearly 25 feet this weekend. The mayor of Indian Shores estimated half of the town's beach is gone after Jeanne and earlier storms.

Throughout south Pinellas, the sound of blowers and chain saws echoed as residents began the cleanup.

At 28th Street N and 11th Avenue on Monday afternoon, Kathy Fowler watched as workers in two bucket trucks tried to remove a silver oak tree draped across a power line.

She heard a sharp crack Sunday, the sound of the tree falling from the edge of her property and blocking the street.

"People have been so rude," Fowler said. "They blame me for their power going out because of the tree. But the power went out before the tree went down."

"I'm ready to go back north," the Washington, D.C., transplant said.

Pickup trucks with full beds were a common sight, and the line at St. Petersburg's 62nd Avenue NE brush site stretched out the gate and west on the avenue.

On Fourth Street N near Gandy Boulevard, a large sign fell on a car, and in Fourth Street's 7400 block crews used a truck and chains to set a billboard upright.

Shore Acres in St. Petersburg appeared to escape serious flooding. But Monday afternoon, high tide brought puddles to some streets by about 1:30 p.m. Water sloshed over sidewalks on some sections of Shore Acres Boulevard, and signs warning motorists to be cautious were placed at entrances to the subdivision.

Near 68th Avenue and Fourth Street S, a fallen palm tree partially covered the road. It had taken with it lines feeding electricity to street lights. A red tape marked off the area. Strands of the broken line threaded through other trees nearby.

At 1199 54th Ave. S, Elaine Ervin returned home to no electricity and a leaking house.

A large tree branch had crushed parts of her roof. Her living room carpet and some furniture was soggy from rain.

"Unfortunately, I've not heard back from my homeowners insurance," said Ervin, who works for an insurance company. "I'm supposed to be at work taking claims, not calling them in."

In Tierra Verde, Richard Fernandez sat forlornly in front of Tierra Verde Marina's office. He had lost his sailboat, Emily, which he bought just 12 weeks ago. It was uninsured, the Tampa resident said, because with the constant threat of hurricanes he had been unable to get coverage.

"I'm looking at over $2,000 to get it up, and then I have to get it towed," Fernandez said. "Then I have to have it repaired."

Jeff Cavanagh, Tierra Verde Marina's manager, said one houseboat and four sailboats had sunk at their slips. The area had seen 5-foot seas Sunday, he said.

Pinellas Park officials sent five crews out to pick up storm debris. They sent others to compile a list of all damage, although for the most part it appeared minimal.

In Seminole, more than 25 business signs, including those of McDonald's and Hollywood Video on Seminole Boulevard, were damaged or destroyed. Power outages Sunday forced the closing of Seminole Mall. Publix, a major tenant, lost all its frozen food, manager Steve Jarrett said.

In Redington Beach, a 35-foot tree on the town right of way at 158th Street and Redington Drive looks like the Leaning Tower of Pisa and will be removed, said Mark Davis, director of public works.

A charter sailboat that broke loose from its moorings at the Clearwater Marina and grounded on the north side of the Belleair Beach Causeway forced the closing of the causeway from midday Sunday until noon Monday.

As high tide approached early Monday afternoon, surface winds pushed water against the sea wall and flooded a short stretch of Sunrise Drive SE at Corsino Way across the water from Coquina Key. All along the road, water rose to the brim of the sea wall.

Times staff writers Donna Winchester, Anne Lindberg, Jim Verhulst and correspondents Kathy Saunders and Sheila Mullane Estrada contributed to this report.

A mess in south Pinellas

Trees went down and sand went away, but even though many people lost power, Jeanne could have been much worse for south Pinellas. Here is a sampling of what happened.

1. Across St. Petersburg, scores of trees were down and traffic lights were out, but no one area seemed harder hit than another. Flooding was minimal.

2. Sunset Beach in Treasure Island lost nearly 25 feet of sand.

3. In Indian Rocks Beach, part of the roof on Sand Castle North, a condominium building, was lifted off from a height of five stories and dropped onto Gulf Boulevard.

4. The mayor of Indian Shores believes half of the town's beach is gone after Jeanne and earlier storms. However, the sand dunes held. In Indian Shores, the roof blew off a cluster of buildings at Indian Pass Apartments, a retirement community. Residents were forced to evacuate in the middle of the storm.

5. In Madeira Beach, a 40-foot grouper boat tied up behind Leverock's was damaged as it pounded up and down on a piling. The motion punched a hole in it.