FLORIDA (AP) Many people in Florida were harmed by Hurricane Wilma, but few as much as Charlie Sturgeon ---- known by all his friends as "Hurricane Charlie". Hurricane Charlie has been living aboard his small twenty-foot sailboat for the past 17 years. The boat and its well-weathered skipper have been familiar sights at many anchorages in Florida.
"Yeah, I knew Hurricane Charlie from down in Marathon. He was one of the regulars anchored just off Pat and Kelly's Marina in Boot Key Harbor several years back. His boat was the one with sails made from old blue tarps---I guess that's about all old Hurricane Charlie could afford. He didn't really need sails very often; he lived on the hook year in and year out. He rowed to and from shore in a dinghy that leaked so bad it had to be bailed three times each way! Over the years, he rode out so many hurricanes on that little boat that everyone started calling him 'Hurricane Charlie'!"
Spoof reporter Morgan Truce caught up with Hurricane Charlie along the Outer Banks of North Carolina: "Charlie, you look a bit confused what happened?"
"Well, yesterday I was anchored near Captiva Island. I was listening to my little transistor radio, and I heard all these NOAA weather forecast people telling everyone to watch out for Hurricane Charlie. Now, why in the world would people be afraid of me? I never bother anyone. Anyway, I rowed ashore and got a bag of groceries down at the Publix Supermarket. All over the store everyone was talking about me! I thought I was going crazy. Tell the truth, I do have to take these pills every day but I hardy ever miss my pill. I just thought--- the heck with all this paranoid stuff, I'm going to dinghy back to my boat and get squared away for the evening. Last night there was quite a storm kicking up, but I slept pretty good. I've been through a lot of storms, but I've got a 35-pound CQR anchor on my little boat and it holds the bottom like glue!"
The reporter said, "I don't know quite how to tell you this, but you're not in Florida any more --- this is North Carolina. Hurricane Wilma carried your boat all the way up here and dumped it on this beach!"
"But I didn't carry my boat anywhe... Where did you say I was?"
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City officials in several Florida communities are reporting a mysterious 3-foot deep trench suddenly appearing the morning after Hurricane Wilma. A helicopter news team reports the trench seems to stretch from the Gulf Coast all the way across Florida to the Atlantic Ocean.
Highway road crews were busy repairing the damage to I- 95.