A Record Breaking Hurricane Season Closes

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There's never been a busier one, never one more costly. Hurricane season 2005 ends Wednesday, but don't tell that to Tropical Storm Epsilon swirling in the Atlantic.

Twenty six named storms in all, and that means it's been a very busy season for the Capital Area Red Cross. The numbers say it; 98,000 meals served, thousands of people sheltered, and today they continue to assist 125 families still in the area, 80 in hotels and now, the end is here.

Chris Floyd with the Capital Area Red Cross said, “Are we happy the 2005 hurricane season is over? You ‘betcha. But on the other side, 183 days until we have to start all over again."

It's a never ending wave of preparation, response and recovery, and on Tuesday the paperwork continued. Thousands of disaster assistance cases were typed by the hands of those who lost everything to Hurricane Katrina. They found a new home in Tallahassee this season leaving behind a life changing experience.

Irma Carter, who lost her home in New Orleans, said, "It made me more sensitive to other people, how valuable life is, and it just makes me want to go on."

Thousands of families found relief through the Capital Area Red Cross, and it wasn't just through financial assistance, but shelter. 4,700 people found refuge at the 11 shelters open this season.

Jean Smith who lost a home in Gulf Port, MS, said, "The people of Tallahassee have been great."

It costs a lot of money to provide relief in the aftermath of a hurricane. Chris Floyd says the Capital Area Chapter distributed $1.9 million this hurricane season.

From the north Florida area nearly $2.2 million was donated for the Hurricane Relief Fund. Volunteers also made a big difference. The Red Cross estimates about 2,700 people stepped up to volunteer this season just in the Florida capital area alone.

Many of them were city, county and state workers taking advantage of the Disaster Leave Law, which gives them two weeks of paid leave to help.