The Atlantic Hurricane season officially starts today, June 1st and runs through November 30th. There have already been 2 named storms this year, Hurricane Alex in January and Tropical Storm-Depression Bonnie in May. Just before the Memorial Day weekend, the National Hurricane Center and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released the 2016 Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook. There’s a 45% chance of a near normal season in 2016 with 1-4 major hurricanes on the Atlantic side of the United States.
While Florida has not had a major storm make landfall in over a decade, Dr. Rick Knabb, the National Hurricane Center Director, urged everyone to be prepared and have a plan. Knabb’s interview was during the Governor’s Hurricane Conference in Orlando, Florida on May 12, 2016.
Satellite and Radar Images of Hurricane Charley as it made landfall. Courtesy: NOAA
During an active 2004 hurricane season, Charley was the first of 4 major storms to hit or affect Florida within 6 weeks. The category 4 hurricane was headed toward the Tampa Bay area, but made a quick turn, making landfall on the southwest coast of Florida near Cayo Costa, near Captiva Island, west of Fort Myers on Friday afternoon, August 13, 2004. NOAA says Charley’s sustained maximum winds were 140 mph as it made landfall. NOAA says as Charley moved north-northeast across the state, the storm caused major damage from Punta Gorda, Port Charlotte, Orlando to the Palm Coast near Daytona. The NOAA damage assessment service report estimates Hurricane Charley caused an estimated $14 billion in economic damage in Florida. NOAA says 10 people were killed during the storm, which also impacted North Carolina and South Carolina.