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Bret's Clouds Had Silver Lining

Sarita, Texas is a one-horse town in a county known for cows. They outnumber people a hundred to one.

Sunday night hurricane Bret painted a bullseye on Sarita and surrounding Kenedy County, snapping trees and smashing windows.

One-hundred-mile-an-hour winds pummeled Sarita, but no one was hurt when the eye passed right through town, reports CBS News Correspondent Jim Axelrod.

"Looking at the twisted trees and the twisted signs, it looks like they had cyclonic winds through here," says David Gatley of FEMA.

"It was right on top of us," says Sheriff Rafael Cuellar, Jr. "We were lucky, very lucky."

The past 24 hours in Kenedy County seems to offer convincing proof regarding that age-old theory involving clouds and silver linings: sometimes even hurricane clouds have them.

With the whole Gulf Coast to pick from, Bret picked a county of just 500 people -- sitting right between Corpus Christi and Brownsville and populations in the hundreds of thousands.

"I think it's a blessing, if you will, that the higher population areas didn't get hit," Gatley says. "You see evidence of the kinds of winds they had here. If it hit Corpus Christi, you would have seen a lot more damage."

But while everyone else saw the silver today, hurricane chaser Scott Fellows focused on the cloud. He drove straight from Atlanta to see Bret, and is heading home disappointed.

"I just scanned Kenedy County, north to south. I went to Armstrong and back... there's nothing here. It's pathetic," Fellows says.

One man's pathetically missed target is another's perfectly dodged bullet. On the Gulf Coast of Texas, that's how most people prefer to think about it.

Hurricane Bret's brush with South Padre Island left only a few scars, reports CBS News Correspondent Bob McNamara reports.

"I think we were lucky. The whole island should feel pretty lucky," says Manuel Salazar.

Even with 135-mile-per-hour peak winds, Hurricane Bret has been more about rain than wreckage. Over two feet of rain fell in places.

And if anyone believed Brett was mostly hype and not much hurricane, the lack of a body count may say a lot about thousands who got out of the hurricanes way.

"There's no way to tell what a hurricane is exactly going to do. You've just got to be prepared," says John Dent, Padre Island resident.

Monday residents came home to an occasional tree on the roof or the litter of boat docks and other debris on the shoreline, but it was all minor.

"You know, our house is still here and we're all ok, so that's really what matters," a Baffin Bay man says.

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