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Hurricane Charley 7:30 P.M. - Friday - 8/13/04

Charley crossed the west coast of Florida near Punta Gorda around 4:00 this afternoon and is now bisecting Florida.

Charley moved inland as a Cat 4 storm. As I have long said intensity forecasting is a crap shoot. In the case of Charley no intensity forecast model was anywhere near correct with the ultimate intensity of Charley. I was consistently higher than any guidance and still I was underdone.

Once again….a worst case scenario was avoided. If Charley had come in at 145 mph just north of Tampa the damage would have been catastrophic. As it is, when people get out to the barrier islands outside of Charlote Harbor there might not be too much left. I'm interested to see shots from the west end of Sanibel, near Captiva.

Moving forward…..Charley is cutting a swath right across Florida this evening and inland wind damage to trees and powerlines will be extensive, very extensive. Winds GUSTING to hurricane force will rake a large part of the Florida peninsula from the west coast to the east on a line from Port Charlote to Daytona and 60 miles either side of that line….this is GUSTS, sustained winds of hurricane force will be confined to a narrow area only about 30 miles wide along the path.

All this doesn't really matter….power outages and wind damage will be extensive across Florida and dollar damage will almost certainly exceed that of Andrew.

Charley will emerge off the Florida east coast between Palm Coast and Daytona….from there it will head NNE toward a 2nd. Landfall on the upper SC or SW coast of NC…..from there it will continue NNE up along or just a very short distance inland to the general vicinity of NYC…or a little east of that early Sunday morning.

The intensity of Charley for the 2nd. Landfall should be in the order of 75-95 mph. Hurricane force wind gusts should be felt up into the Southern Del-Mar-Va…that's GUSTS, not sustained. Tropical storm force winds from there north to along the NJ coast and LI.

Will update again around 11:30.

Once again I can't stress the disaster that was averted today. One can only imagine a 15-18 foot surge coming up Tampa Bay.