Hurricane Charley, Port Charlotte, Florida – 2004
Ten years ago Florida experienced four major hurricane: Charley, Frances, Ivan and Jean. I seem to be a magnet for hurricanes when I’m on vacation. In August of 2004 my family took off to visit family in Florida. When we encountered the beautiful, big waves from tropical storm Bonnie I thought “here I go once again enjoying a hurricane”.
By the time we arrived at my nieces the next day she said “you got your wish for a hurricane.”
I said “I know. We just came through Bonnie.”
She replied “No! There’s another coming and it’s bigger.”
I didn’t think too much about it. Most of the storms I’d encountered were a category 1 or 2 but within a few days my hurricane chasing spirit changed. We expected a category 2 hurricane to make landfall 70 miles north in Tampa. Two hours before Charley hit the forecast changed. It was upgraded to a category 4 and landfall would now be Port Charlotte, the city where we were staying.
I’d experienced a category 2 hurricane in 1991, Hurricane Bob. The destruction was bad but nothing like what I saw with Charley. We weren’t prepared: roads were closed, shelters full, and supplies gone. We hurriedly did as much as we can to secure the home. in the end we only lost the contents of one room. But that’s wasn’t the case elsewhere in the city.
Tornadoes ripped away homes, businesses and stores. We are such geographic creatures. I remember people calling radio stations trying to find their homes. There was so much destruction, so many landmarks gone, people couldn’t find their way home from the shelters. Our electric was out for a week and we were the lucky ones.
I don’t chase hurricanes anymore but I did move to Florida. Maybe since I’m a resident and not a tourist my hurricane days are over. My family has been here since 2006 and there’s been no major storm yet. Got any wood to knock on? It’s still early as September has had the greatest number of storms in Florida.
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