"You know it's kind of funny. The only thing that survived the storm were the family tombstones. They're all we have left." - Ned Flanders, The Simpsons

Hurricane Charley has been here and gone and now it's time for the clean-up and recovery to begin. Yesterday the storm was on track to strike Tampa as a category 2 storm and I had planned to ride out the weather at my apartment, but when the news came at 2pm that the storm was a category 4 storm and would pass right over my home in Orlando, I grabbed what I could and evacuated before the roads were closed. I was one of the last people out of the city before the rain began and there were a few times I didn't think I would be able to make it all the way to Titusville over on the east coast. The 40-minute trip took almost two hours in that horrible weather. I packed up some clothes, some food, my computer (just the tower itself), and some of the expensive and irreplacable things like autographs, video games, and my MST3K library. I arrived at my grandparents' house and am staying here for the immediate future. I have not been back to Orlando to see if I still have a place to live, but the pictures on the news do not look encouraging. A shopping mall just 10 minutes from my apartment appears to have been flattened when the 100mph+ winds picked up the airplanes at the nearby executive airport and tossed them into the nearby buildings. The university has a lot of blown windows, flooding, and trees down. Almost every sign outdoors is blown over. Traffic lights are out or just plain gone. Power is out in Orlando, as is the clean water. I will try and get back over there tomorrow to assess the damage. I called my apartment complex and talked to the emergency switchboard and was told that nobody called in any problems, although this could mean that everyone else evacuated too and there's nobody there to call. They're asking people not to be out on the roads today at all and nothing is open (except Disney World; what are they thinking?!)

Here in Titusville things aren't so bad. We only had 50mph+ winds here. Lots of branches down and there's a hole in the roof here. Not too bad, considering. The power and water are on here, as is cable TV and phones. There's going to be a long clean-up ahead statewide as we try to get our lives back to normal. Everything for the near future is up in the air; no word on going back to work, classes, etc. The important thing for today though is that I'm fine, my family is fine, and we're starting to rebuild. My next concern is hoping that I have a home to go home to tomorrow.