Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Florida Hurricanes

I won't miss hurricanes.
In 2004 we were hit by 4 hurricanes in 8 weeks. Watching neighbors board up their homes every other Saturday became known as the "Florida wave".

This is hurricane Charley, a category 4 hurricane that hit Florida in 2004.
Hurricane Charley was coming right for us in Tampa Bay.

The choice to evacuate has to be made by the time the hurricane turns into the Gulf of Mexico, or there is no time left to leave. Our neighborhood was under an evacuation order. Charley was only a mere category 1 hurricane when it passed Cuba, so we decided we would ride it out. Then.....it turned into the hot waters of the Gulf of Mexico, quickly upgraded from a category 1 to a category 4. By this time it was too late to leave, and it became too upsetting watching the weatherman telling us how bad the damage was going to be.

Most tv channels had non-stop coverage of the hurricane. With only 1 hour left before the hurricane was due to hit us, we turned off the tv, decided what room was the strongest in the house (the laundry room), and just resigned ourselves to our fate.
Outside the wind picked up and the weather severely deteriorated.

There was a real concern we were going to lose our house and maybe worse.

About 45 minutes later we turned on the tv to see how bad it was going to get, when the weatherman said "If you haven't been watching the weather lately, you will be glad to hear that the hurricane is changed direction and will hit just south of us in Port Charlotte." Whilst I am sorry for the people of Port Charlotte (who had no warning at all they would be hit), I'm glad it didn't hit Tampa Bay directly, although we were sideswiped by the hurricane.

At its peak intensity when it made landfall it attained 150mph/240km/h with gusts up to 175mph/280km/h.

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