July 16th, 2014

Atlantic Hurricane Season: What We Know Can Happen — Historical Impacts: Hurricane Charley

Posted at 1:00 AM ET

Hurricane Charley made U.S. landfall in 2004 with maximum sustained winds of 145 mph, a Category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale. Storm surge of six to seven feet was observed near Sanibel and Estero Islands, Florida.

Charley experienced a period of explosive development just prior to its landfall as a Category 4 hurricane. An abrupt track change to the southeast caused Charley to make landfall further south than expected, drastically lessening impacts to the Tampa/St. Petersburg, Florida area.

Severe Weather Print

Charley was a compact but very powerful storm that rendered catastrophic damage in Charlotte County, and especially Punta Gorda, Florida with more moderate damage well inland. The storm caused estimated economic losses of USD17.2 billion in 2010 dollars, correcting for wealth and inflation (1).

The 2004 tropical season was a weak El Niño year that produced five U.S. hurricane landfalls, four of which impacted Florida.

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1. Blake, E.S., Landsea, C.W. and Gibney, E.J., 2011: The Deadliest, Costliest, and Most Intense United States Tropical Cyclones From 1851 to 2010. National Weather Service. NOAA Technical Memorandum NWS NHC-6.

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