CHARLOTTE COUNTY, Fla. – Tuesday marks 15 years since Hurricane Charley made landfall in Southwest Florida. The Category 4 storm killed 15 people and injured hundreds of others on August 13, 2004.
Charley made an unexpected turn into Southwest Florida which uprooted many lives. Charlotte County was hit the hardest, particularly Punta Gorda and Port Charlotte.
Many people said they remember the unexpected right turn that lead the eye of the storm dead center for Punta Gorda.
Some schools in the area were damaged and several homes were destroyed. It first made landfall on Captiva Island and moved into Charlotte County.
Many people lost everything which changed their outlook on life. Survivors said not only did they survive but they thrived.
The road to rebuilding was a long one but Charlotte County officials said the area came back stronger. They said they are much better prepared for hurricanes now.
In 2004, Hurricane Charley caused $13 billion in damages to Florida. It hit Southwest Florida as a Category 4 with winds up to 150 MPH.
Charley was the fifth strongest hurricane to hit Florida.
The anniversary of Hurricane Charley is another reminder to be prepared this hurricane season. Emergency officials said you need to have a plan in place in case one hits our area.
Right now, we are in the peak months of hurricane season, which is August through October.