Every year when August 13 arrives, I am reminded what it’s like to live through a hurricane passing across Central Florida, not one… but three! I was here in 2004. I was 8.5 months pregnant with my first child. I was working 12-15 hour days. I had my windows boarded up. I lost power. I bought a generator after Charley. A tree fell on my house sending water pouring into my clothes closet. My lemon tree was uprooted and destroyed. I had blue tarps on my roof. I had to find alternate routes to work because giant trees were blocking my path. I started going a little stir crazy from being cooped up in a dark house with boarded windows and no air conditioning. I lived through the inconveniences right along the side of you…. and now every year, I make sure I have a hurricane kit and a plan in place for my family before a storm arrives. Charley was my personal wake-up call.
In the early hours of Friday, the center of Charley looked as if it was going to make landfall near Tampa. This would have sent the strongest winds north of Central Florida. But by late morning on the 13th, the center of the hurricane began to shift slightly to the right. As it began to strengthen and kept turning closer to Florida, the hurricane eventually made landfall in the evening hours and continued on its northeast track toward Daytona Beach.
We’ve had a quiet season so far in 2013, with just 4 named storms and no hurricanes. But the peak of the season happens in early September… and it looks like things are about to start ramping up. Don’t be caught unprepared like many of us were in 2004. Have a plan and be safe!