Hurricane Charley Made Landfall On Captiva & North Captiva Islands On Friday, August 13, 2004.
Tomorrow is Friday, June 13, so we’re just a little over 60 days from the 10 Year anniversary of Hurricane Charley.
The days and hours leading up to that Friday, August 13th involved the typical hurricane preparations and precautions on the islands. In retrospect, we all took it all a too casually.
The islands had had a decades long run of avoiding significant impact from a hurricane and that probably gave us more than a bit of overconfidence that we would dodge this storm again, just like all the others.
Captiva, North Captiva and Sanibel had been largely evacuated, but until the very last-minute, everyone expected that the islands we’re going to avoid the brunt of Hurricane Charley’s force and escape with just a good scare and a lot of rain.
Hurricane Charley’s trajectory was predicted to continue north in the Gulf of Mexico and only deliver a glancing blow to Captiva and North Captiva Islands.
However, at about noon that Friday the 13th, Hurricane Charley’s path unexpectedly shifted slightly but significantly northeast and, an hour or so later, Charley slammed into Captiva and North Captiva Islands. Just a little while later, it hit the mainland and Punta Gorda and Port Charlotte, Florida and did even more damage.
Charley hit the northern tip of Captiva Island and southern tip of North Captiva Island with tremendous force. It was the most powerful hurricane to make landfall in Florida since Hurricane Andrew struck in 1992. Charley’s wind speed was 150 miles per hour when it reached the islands and the impact was immediate and severe, with widespread structural damage.
Captiva and North Captiva Islands were impacted significantly, but the homeowners and businesses on both islands were resilient, banded together, and recovered and rebuilt, and the islands were again a thriving and beautiful, if changed, great place to vacation and live within a year or two after Hurricane Charley.
We’ll try to put up a post and/or photo or video a day over the next couple of months reflecting back on Hurricane Charley and leading up to the 10 Year Anniversary on August 13.