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Sarasota News Leader May 31, 2013 Page 88 Siesta Seen "I hope the Indian spirit thing is real," he said Since recordkeeping began in 1851, he added, about 150 storms have come through "Hurriat the outset of his May 2 remarks. cane Alley," which includes Florida. He was referring to one theory about why Sarasota County mostly has been spared. McCrane also showed the damage Hurricane Seminole Indians reportedly used to travel to Andrew did to Homestead in 1992. "You would our part of the coast in ages past to bury their have thought a bomb had gone off," he said. dead, and those spirits ward away hurricanes. In the aftermath of Andrew, state building I imagine that story won even more believers code changes dramatically improved the inwhen Hurricane Charley took its sudden hard tegrity of structures and their ability to withright turn into Port Charlotte in 2004, after stand high winds, he continued. forecasters had been certain it would come However — especially for those who live on or ashore at Sarasota or Tampa. near the water — storm surge remains a major "Charley was the closest call in recent memory," McCrane pointed out, though he had slides in his PowerPoint presentation to show hurricane damage Sarasota suffered in the 20th century, including 1921,when a storm that struck Tarpon Springs wreaked havoc on Sarasota's bayfront. concern. Using a county graphic, he illustrated how much of Sarasota County would be underwater if a Category 5 hurricane struck. "God forbid we ever have this," McCrane said, "because this is the worst-case scenario." He cautioned, though, that even minor storms could create problems with storm surge. A graphic from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shows the general location of 'hurricane alley.' Image courtesy of NOAA

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