|Powerful Hurricane Charley Just Before Landfall
A well organized tropical wave approaching the lesser antilles became Tropical Depression Three on August
9 after developing a closed circulation. The depression entered the Caribbean Sea later that day and was named Tropical Storm
Charley shortly after. Under low wind shear and prime upper-level outflow, Charley continued to gradually strengthen. It became
a hurricane on August 11th, when it was south of Jamaica. Charley then began to take a gradual turn more towards the north
under the influence of a trophospheric ridge. The storm passed over Cuba as a category 2, and as a category 3 near Havana,
Cuba with 120mph winds. Charley then began to turn more than expected, and crossed over parts of the Florida Keys as a category
2 on August 12. Charley also began to rapidly intensify at this point, reaching category 4 status with a pressure of 941mbar
prior to landfall. At approximately 3pm on August 13, Hurricane Charley made landfall north of Fort Myers, Florida as a powerful
category 4 storm with winds of 150mph. Charley continued across Florida, and winds as high as 100mph were felt as far inland
as Orlando. Charley exited the panhandle near Daytona Beach, and continued NNE over open waters as a weakened minimal hurricane
until making another landfall at Myrtle Beach, South Carolina on the morning of August 14. Charley dissipated after remaining
on land near Cape Cod, Massachussets.
Gusts as high as 180 mph were felt in Punta Gorda, Florida, and thirty five
people were killed due to Charley. Total Damages reported are around 16 Billion dollars, making Charley the third costliest
hurricane on record. The name Charley was retired in the spring of 2005 and will be replaced with Colin in 2010.