2022 Hurricane Preparation Guide

2022-05-18 Hurricane Guide

Hurricane Preparation

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Page 42 of 47

Page 43 STAFF REPORT Editor's note: This is an abbrevi- ated account of the damage done by Hurricane Charley in 2004. A previ- ous version of this story ran in the Charlotte Sun on Aug. 14, 2004, the day after Charley made landfall. Punta Gorda, Port Charlotte and Arcadia took the brunt of Hurricane Charley's Category 4 blast Aug. 13, 2004. Three hospitals sustained major damage to roofs, windows and upper floors. Half of Charlotte County's fire stations were lost, hundreds if not thousands of residents lost their homes and dozens of businesses were leveled. The eye of the hurricane wobbled throughout the day before barreling straight up Charlotte Harbor and following U.S. 17 to Arcadia, batter- ing hundreds of buildings in its wake and leaving thousands homeless. Charley would rival the long-re- membered storm Hurricane Donna for its viciousness and impact on the region. The hurricane marched up the harbor, destroying dozens of mobile home parks, killing several people and injuring hundreds. Winds in Charlotte County reached 140 to 145 mph, with even higher gusts. In DeSoto County, large portions of downtown Arcadia were leveled as the hurricane rode a path up U.S. Highway 17. The Turner Center, which was housing more than 1,200 evacuees as a storm shelter, lost its roof. The eye of the storm crossed U.S. Highway 41 at Harborview Road in Port Charlotte at about 4:42 p.m. The five-mile-wide eye end – with vicious winds – returned at 4:51 p.m. The expected 15 feet of storm surge never materialized, but the winds did the damage. Mobile home parks at Burnt Store Road and U.S. Highway 41 were reportedly flattened. Similar reports were made along Kings Highway. Along Edgewater Drive, the storm damaged nearly every home and brought down nearly every power line. Along U.S. Highway 41, little was recognizable, as dozens of business- es had roof and storefront damage. Nearly 75% of the signs directing people to stores were wiped away, most notably Target and Books-A- Million. Traffic signals and signs and downed trees were road hazards into the night. Hundreds of people were out on the road Friday night to see how their neighbors fared. Florida Gov. Jeb Bush visited the area Aug. 14 and estimated the po- tential damage could reach $15 bil- lion. President George W. Bush signed a federal disaster declaration before the worst of the damage had been done. Hurricane Charley impacted Punta Gorda, Port Charlotte, Arcadia ASSOCIATED PRESS Steve Davis removes salvageable items from an AutoZone store that was completely devastated in Hurricane Charley in Port Charlotte. It woke up the region to the power of hurricanes Continued on page 44 HOW ALERTS ARE ISSUED Before watches and warnings are issued, the National Weather Service, private forecasters, news- papers, radio and television stations normally try to alert the public to potential weather dangers. Often, forecasters begin issuing bulletins on hurricanes three or four days before the storm hits. Forecasters can't issue alerts for the danger of severe thunder- storms, tornadoes and flash floods that far ahead. Usually, the National Weather Service's Severe Storms Forecast Center sends out alerts the day before dangerous weather is like- ly. Most television weathercasters highlight these alerts on the eve- ning news the day before threaten- ing weather. A weather radio is one of the best ways to stay tuned-in to dangerous weather. These radios receive broadcasts from special National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration radio stations. NOAA is the federal agen- cy that includes the National Weath- er Service. The broadcasts are from Weather Service offices. Broad- casts include ordinary forecasts of several kinds, including boating, farming, traveling and outdoor rec- reation as well as general forecasts for the area. The stations immediately broad- cast all watches and warnings. Some weather radios have a feature that turns on the radio automatically when a watch or warning is broadcast. Such "tone alert" weather radios are highly recommended for places where large numbers of people could be endangered by tornadoes or flash floods. These include schools, nurs- ing homes, shopping center security offices, hospitals and recreation areas such as swimming pools. A National Weather Service website has information on weather radio, including a list of weather radio stations in each state. Terms and facts to know adno=3845604-1

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