View Full Version : Hurricane Charley

June Pelo
13-08-04, 18:11
We're in line for a hit from Hurricane Charley. The TV is on with the map showing the progress of the storm as it sweeps up the western Florida coast. I'm stocked up on food, put the car in the garage and just looked out the window to see the first bands of rain sweeping over us. The next 8-10 hours will be crucial. If you don't hear anything more from me, you'll know we had a direct hit! :eek:


13-08-04, 19:17
Latest updates indicate the hurricane will stay just off the coast near June and hit land in Tampa. For those unfamiliar with Hurricanes, the worst part of the storm is always the northeast portion. That's the part that will skirt the coast where June is. They're expecting up to a 14foot storm surge which will put much of Tampa underwater. They expect it to then cross the state.

In Orlando, they're predicting ~50 mph winds and hurricane force winds (75mph +) just to the west of us. Our biggest concern is heavy rain/flooding and tornados.

Millions of people are on the highways evacuating and from the west coast of Florida, there are only 2 main highways going north.

Stay safe June!

13-08-04, 19:49
I hope you don't come to any harm down there in Florida. I have never experienced a hurricane, but I prefer a severe winter any time.

May God be with you


13-08-04, 20:27
June, our prayers are with you and your neighbors. What misery a hurricane is!

13-08-04, 20:45
I will keep both my thumbs that it all ends well!


June Pelo
13-08-04, 20:50
Thank goodness our local weathermen are on the ball. An hour ago they noticed the hurricane had changed direction and was bearing northeast and will probably hit between here and Fort Myers. Yet the US Weather Bureau is still predicting it will hit Tampa - they didn't notice the change in direction until it was called to their attention. The bridges are shut down and the power company is turning off power to the barrier islands. Interstate 75 is closed and the only place we can go is inland or across the state, but it's almost too late to leave now. People living along the Gulf or on a canal will probably have a surge of water 15 feet high smashing into their houses. I don't live on the water, so hope we'll be safe here. We're beginning to get rain showers that come and go, but the wind hasn't been bad - yet...

13-08-04, 21:20
They have upgraded the storm to a Category 4 (Cat 5 is the strongest) and winds are now sustained at 150mph. Cat 5 begins at 155mph! The news says that they're expecting landfall very near to where June lives and the path will continue now directly over Orlando.

I've attached a pic I took in front of my house just a few minutes ago. This is the 1st rain band from the storm and you can see what is in store. Keep in mind this is simply a foretaste of what's to come, nothing compared to what is ahead. It's black now outside and raining.

Still haven't heard what time they're predicting landfall. It should be in a few hours.

13-08-04, 23:38
According to New York Times the hurricane Charley made landfall at Fort Myers at 3.50 EDT. It is only within 50 miles S from Port Charlotte where June lives.

At http://www.nytimes.com/2004/08/13/national/13CND-HURRI.html?hp there is a photo taken from space.

13-08-04, 23:46
It's a little worse than that. Currently, the hurricane is inside Charlotte Harbor as I type. June only lives a few miles from the end of the harbor.

Please keep her in your prayers.

Karen Norwillo
14-08-04, 02:27
God protect all those in harm's way. I have many relatives in the area and hope you all are safe. I will add June to my prayers. Karen

14-08-04, 03:10
Charley is just south of Orlando and the wind is pretty bad. According to the weathermen and their tracking devices, the hurricane should pass over our heads in about 1 hour. Just south of us, the winds are still at 115mph, and that's almost 100 miles inland!! It's still classified as a category 2 hurricane. Incredible.

Pictures are just coming in from Port Charlotte (where June is). Many buildings are demolished and roofs have blown off houses. Hope all is well with her!

14-08-04, 03:41
You live in Orlando.......my Aunt lives in Lady Lake and my cousin in St. Augustine.......I have the weather channel on, but haven't heard anything about either city, has your news had any information on whats going on there?


14-08-04, 05:10
Well! That was scary! :eek:

Charley has passed the south side of Orlando and is heading towards Daytona Beach. Reports at Orlando Int'l Airport had recorded wind gusts of 105mph. The eye of the hurricane literally passed over us! No exageration!

We're very lucky! There are trees down in our neighborhood, most everyone's pool cages are ripped to shreds, and most houses have missing shingles. Some came through our pool cage and are in our swimming pool! The fences in our neighboorhood have collapsed and our neighbor has a tree on top of his car.

During the worst of the storm, you could feel the sliding glass doors pulsing in and out. Windows did the same. It's blowing outside but the worst is over. It was very scary!

Diana, Lady Lake is NW of here about 40-50 miles and probably had winds in the neighborhood of 50-60 mph, maybe a little less. St Augustine will feel some of the effects but probably not nearly as bad. The hurricane is expected to exit Florida around Daytona and once it hits the water, it's anyone's guess where it will go.

Thanks to everyone for your prayers! Hasse IM'd me before the storm hit and said he'd pray for us all. It worked and I thank you! Now all that remains is to hear how June is. I'm concerned as they got a direct hit with 150 mph winds!

Maybe I'll take some pics tomorrow.... :(

Paivi T
14-08-04, 08:13
We're all hoping and praying that all of you living in the "ground zero" areas of the hurricane Charley have made it through, and that your lives are returning to normal...

In our years in Australia, we visited Darwin, up in the top end. We saw extensive photo coverage of the destruction wreaked by hurricane Tracey in the 1970s -- the entire town was simply flattened, totally erased. Scary, very scary.

Sure hope you're OK...

Paivi T in Järvenpää, weather-wise calm and trouble-free Finland

14-08-04, 10:34





14-08-04, 16:28
The worst hit may have been at the Charlotte Harbor area and the hurricane´s eye moved along a line that projects from Punta Gorda - Port Charlotte (where June lives) to Orlando (where Kevin lives) and we have heard that electricity will be out for quite long in some areas. I noted that Kevin was online. Kevin, when you are back, please tell us if there is any whatsoever messages from June yet?

14-08-04, 17:10
The photos from Port Charlotte look horrible...lots of homes in ruins. I´m sure we all really hope and pray you are all right, June!
I will remember this when next I want to complain about the weather here in Finland.

14-08-04, 17:16
Reports are coming in and it looks like June's area was hit very hard. She was really close to the impact site. I tried calling her this morning on the cell phone but the phone lines are not working.

Many ppl didn't evacuate in June's area. It's still too early to determine the extent of damage or loss of lives, but they're reporting casualties.

I tried calling June this morning but the phone lines are dead. Hasse's trying to call as well but it rings but no answer. We'll just have to keep trying. As soon as I know something, I'll be sure to update.

Hundreds of thousands of people are without electricity in the state so it may be a while before June can "get connected".

14-08-04, 17:39
Just got through to June and she is ok. No electricity, half the roof torn off her house, water leaking in etc.

She said the town is like after a war - everything torn down.

14-08-04, 17:52
Must be a testimony to her sisu! :D

Sandy Witt
14-08-04, 18:39
Thank goodness you are okay, June! The newscasters are referring to Charlotte County as "ground zero."

The summary of damages from the Orlando paper - http://www.orlandosentinel.com/ - for Charlotte County includes:

In Charlotte County, which includes Punta Gorda: Three hospitals out of service because of damage.

Emergency Operations Center not operational. Two shelters significantly damaged. Sheriff's office destroyed. Seven fire stations destroyed. Numerous trailer homes destroyed.

-- Up to 50 people brought to Charlotte Regional Medical Center with injuries, according to hospital CEO. Injured being airlifted to area hospitals because Charlotte hospital sustained heavy damage.

-- Three hospitals out of service because of damage.

-- Emergency Operations Center not operational.

-- Two shelters significantly damaged.

-- Sheriff's office destroyed.

-- Portions of roof ripped off, windows broken at Deep Creek Rehab and Nursing Center in Port Charlotte, according to administrator. No injuries.

-- Seven fire stations destroyed, according to state emergency management officials.

-- Numerous trailer homes destroyed.

-- At Charlotte County Airport, winds tore apart small planes and blew out the windows of a sheriff's deputy's car. Hangers were collapsed and roofs were torn off buildings. The only building that did not suffer major damage was the Airport Authority building.

-- The roof of the county's emergency operations center in Punta Gorda also blew off.

Charley went directly over my father's house in Sanford (Seminole County, near Orlando) but missed Gainesville (Alachua County), where I live.

Florida can be an exciting and sometimes scary place to live.


14-08-04, 19:05
So relieved June is in one piece! Fantastic! Watched with horror the morning newscasts about Charlotte County.

Karen Norwillo
14-08-04, 20:40
If anyone talks to June again, send my love and relief that she is alright. They say material things can be replaced, but we could never replace June. Karen

14-08-04, 23:44
Hello June and everyone else involved in this recent horrific hurricane. Sorry I have come in late on the thread, due to only returning from my Kent(England) trip today. Being so involved in my own family tree climbing and touristy bits, I did not buy a newspaper for the five days, nor did I watch much TV or listen to the radio, so was unaware of the catastrophe until I checked into Finlander tonight.

I have now read very anxiously and worriedly through all the Finlander messages on this thread and am really pleased to hear that everyone`s prayers worked and that June is safe, even though her house and those of friends and neighbours were damaged.

15-08-04, 17:08
For the last two days I have been glued to the weather channel.
I am so blessed that my family in Florida didn't live in Charley's path. Then the pictures of Punta Gorda come on the screen and all I can think of is June. I am one of the new members here at the Finlander and as I read these posts I can truely feel the love everyone here has for eachother. It also makes my heart ache to think of everything June is experiencing right now and I want to do something to help her, but what?
.....The only thing I can think of would be to take up a collection for her.
Does this sound like a good idea? Or does anyone else have any other ideas or suggestions?


15-08-04, 23:36
Sounds like June was one of the more fortunate ones in the Port Charlotte area. Prayer seems to definitely work! :)

An excerpt from an email I received from Andrea Cocco:

"I just talked to June, it sounds as if she received the same kind of damage that you describe. She lost all her trees (15 fruit trees and a couple of Palm trees) and had all kinds of debris in her yard. She didn't have any broken windows except for her skylight and a man down the street is going to come and cover it - then as I was talking to her, her neighbors came and were cutting down the trees that leaned against the house - and someone found her mail box in the ditch across the street from her - they are of course, without water (they went to WalMart and found a couple of cases of water - no fruit, etc. but some cold food which will "tide them over" along with what she had on hand) without electricity so they are "sweating" in the high-humidity heat - she said that she has a sort of pool of rain water in the back and her brother, Bill told her to take it and put
it in her toilet and that way she wouldn't have to flush away any good water left in the tank - but she said it's too dirty to take a bath in or to wash her hair, etc. Ruth's house is safe, although a tree fell across the garage area and there were trees down as at June's and rainwater had come down into the area around her front door. But we can THANK THE GOOD GOD UP IN HEAVEN THAT OUR FRIENDS (AND YOU AND YOURS) ARE ALL SAFE AND YOUR HOMES NOT RUINED!!!"

So despite the damage, it sounds like good news. Many people in Orlando are still without power and they expect to be without until midweek. The majority, however, do have power. No boil water alerts in our county but there are in other counties.

We drove around a few square miles yesterday and the damage is incredible. Older homes and especially mobile homes are missing roofs. We didn't see any completely demolished though there aren't that many types of homes in the area we ventured into. Every other tree was either knocked down compeletely or snapped in half about 15-20 feet high. Street signs made from metal are bent over touching the ground. Glass street lamps have they're tops hanging by a wire. Gas station awnings were ripped from the ground and lay strewn across some streets. Some buildings had glass blown out. Some houses received considerable damage while the one next didn't. In Florida, many houses have pool cages (metal structures covered in screen that are typically roof high covering their pool areas). Many of these pool cages are simply mangled pieces of metal. One of our friends had theirs crash down and break windows in the back of their homes.

I heard one of the electric companies operations were destroyed and they are literally having to rebuild and re-lay the power lines. This all in an area that received only wind gusts that were 2/3's as strong as the sustained winds that areas like June experienced. Wind gusts for us were 105mph. Sustained winds in Port Charlotte were 145mph when the hurricane made land fall. You can imagine the devastation there.

So far, the death toll remains low at 13 considering the intensity of the storm.

Andrea Cocco
16-08-04, 00:08
Thanks, Kevin,
For posting my information from talking to June - it was so
good to hear her voice and to know that she was okay.
June said that she'd had several calls and it was really
a heartwarming experience to know we were all thinking
of her.
Someone found her mailbox in a ditch across the street
from her home - so now when they start delivering mail
again she'll be able to get her mail!!!!!
The worst part is the humid heat which makes one want
to take a shower and wash the hair but that will come.
At least both she and Ruth are okay - we can be so
Thankful to God for taking care of them and all those who
were okay after the storms passed.
And I am happy for Kevin and his family also that they
came through so well. God has been very good to us!!!
Andrea Cocco

16-08-04, 02:46
Is donating to the Red Cross the best way to get help to Florida?

Tracy Boeldt
16-08-04, 08:46
Thank goodness for Kevin to keep us posted on what's happening--I just got back from vacation from the mid-west and didn't realize that June was in the way of the storm and any of our fellow people on the Finlander, so I'm so thankful that everyone's ok! I would think that the Red Cross would be a start in helping people. I would think that one could list the place where they wanted their monies to go to and it would arrive there, but I don't know for sure. My thoughts are with everyone that's was in harms way.

Tracy Boeldt
16-08-04, 08:47
and Hasse!!!

Andrea Cocco
20-08-04, 03:17
I talked to June again today and some ladies from their
church had just brought a couple of $25.00 gift certificates
for food to them. She said that they have lots of cold
food but each day have found some small Restaurants
which have had good HOT food as well as Air Condition-
ing from their generators. She looked out her front
window and saw an Energy Co. man beginning to put in
a new pole. However, she said it was on a grid next to
her - but if they were getting that close, she thought it
might not be too long til they got around to her. The
men who had promised to cover her cracked skylight
had not come so in the late afternoon, when they have
had rain, she has some big pails to catch the drips and
a big plastic sheet to cover her sofa. She said that there
are about 12,000 men from Electrical Companies from all
over the U.S. in the area to restore the electricity so
hopefully it won't be too long until they have it as well.
It was so nice - so wonderful to hear her really upbeat
about everything and believe me, I was most thankful.
I hope that Kevin is getting everything in order at his
home as well, along with helping others, which is one
of the things which he does so well.
We can thank GOD that both came through so well.

June Pelo
27-08-04, 00:30
My electricity had finally been restored and it's so nice to be able to move around the house without candles or flashlights. The first thing I did was to take a warm shower and wash my hair. I have a lot to do around here: wash the mountain of clothing, shop for food, etc. We can't drink our water so have to go out to depots for ice, water and food, if needed. The food we received was MRE packages (meals ready to eat) which are supplied to our military out in the field. It's tasty but cold - there was no way to heat it.

I haven't been able to find anyone yet to come and cut down 13 trees that blew down in my yard - a neighbor cut down the 3 trees that landed on my house. And my cracked skylight has been covered temporarily. I just found a shattered window in my Florida room, but no water came into the house. I have contacted someone to rebuild my fence - he oiginally installed it and was shocked that it blew down - he had told me it would withstand a hurricane.

I think the reality of it all has finally hit me. Ruth and I were here during the storm and watched the wind and rain lashing the windows and I could see parts of my roof flying around - tree branches and other debris slammed against the house which didn't even shudder under the force of the wind - it's built of cement blocks with thick walls. The winds sounded like 1000 airplanes roaring overhead - a sound I'll never forget.

The houses around me had very little damage - the wind came from the north and singled out my house, hitting it in the back and Corps of Engineers will be putting tarps on roofs - they expect to cover 40,000 houses.

My Internet server's office was destroyed and I have no e-mail service, so am using my sister's laptop.

Have to go now. Thanks for all your thoughts and prayers.


27-08-04, 01:05

This was the best message we had in almost two weeks, which must have been a nightmare for so many people. We hope that you get help to restore your house and garden. Your cousin Gunda (now in Sideby) was very anxious to get her greetings forwarded to you as soon as you get up your e-mail connection.

27-08-04, 03:17
Originally posted by June Pelo
It's tasty but cold - there was no way to heat it.

Maybe leave it out in the hot sun for a bit! :)

So glad and so very relieved to see you back "in the groove". We've never met face to face, but my heart warmed over when I came to read the newest message and saw your picture appear!

There are many out there who need your genealogy help so we need you around for a very long time! So glad you're back!

p.s. Please send me a jar of your SISU! :)

Tracy Boeldt
27-08-04, 10:18
I'm with Staffan and Kevin--I was so relieved to see a post from you--my thoughts have been with you! You are definitely full of SISU! Keep us posted and I'm thinking of you!

27-08-04, 11:22
You are one tough "old" lady. Glad to have you back, June.


June Pelo
27-08-04, 17:13
Thanks for your messages. I need to get back to my sister's house and do some work. Her tropical garden was destroyed - yesterday I spent 2 hours dragging tree branches and cactus plants, etc. out to the street to be picked up. A man came to give an estimate to clean it up, but decided it was too much work requiring manual labor - he wanted to get his "bobcat" back there, but there was no way he could get there. So I'm running an ad to see if someone with a chain saw will offer to help. Every day we get another inch of rain to add to the misery of people who have no roofs on their houses. The Army Corps of Engineers is asking for more volunteers to put tarps on roofs - Operation Blue Roof - they have to cover 40,000 roofs and are hoping to cover 500 a day. The whole cleanup operation here is a monumental task and is running much smoother than it did for Hurricane Andrew. The power workers are putting up new poles and wires and working from sunup to sundown. The electrical system has to be rebuilt - thousands of new poles and transformers are arriving and miles of new wires need to be strung. We lost 14 schools and students now will have to share the remaining schools - with morning and afternoon shifts. Our hospitals are being repaired - they have set up emergency rooms in tents in parking lots - our fire stations are operating without roofs (the storm picked up 25 ton firetrucks and tossed them around). There wasn't a traffic light left in the whole city, but now they are putting up new lights at major intersections. Street signs are gone - every intersection is now being treated as a 4-way stop. Gigantic trucks and cranes are lifting mountains of smashed trees and debris and taking it away. Our city was a city of many beautiful trees - probably 3/4 of them are either gone or damaged and have to be taken down. Garbage pickup has resumed so we can get rid of 2 weeks of smelly garbage! Life is slowly getting back to some semblance of normality.

Staffan, please let Gunda know that we are OK and managing. I have been writing to relatives in Finland and asking them to contact other relatives who don't have e-mail. Thanks to Ingemar for his lovely card and letter.

Back to work!


Karen Norwillo
27-08-04, 17:51
June, Welcome back. We sure did worry about you and everyone. I have lots of family in Florida, but luckily they all had minor damage. You are in my prayers. Karen

Ingemar Ekman
27-08-04, 22:01
Hej June,
Good to see you on-line again. Greetings to you, Ruth and your neighbours.

28-08-04, 17:38
Good to see that you are back again!


June Pelo
30-08-04, 00:19
We had good news today - our water is now safe to drink and the curfew has been lifted so we can go out after dark. Yesterday a family from North Port came to my door and offered to cut up the trees that fell in my yard - they worked hard and cut up all the trees and carried them to the street for pickup next week. My yard is so desolate now - stumps of 16 trees and the mangled fence are what greets me when I look out the window.

Today another group of volunteers went to my sister's house and worked many hours cutting down trees and hauling them to the street for pickup. They were very caring people and hugged us when they left, saying they were happy to help us because they had no damage where they live in Sarasota.

Now there is another hurricane headed for Florida - but from what we hear on the news, it may hit the east coast of Florida and not come our way. It would be a catastrophe if another storm hit here.

The other good news I have is that my internet server is looking for a new location and they hope to be back online in a week. There are no vacant buildings in town, and about 10,000 buildings were destroyed by Charley, so there is a problem finding vacant buildings.


Karen Norwillo
30-08-04, 20:58
June, Isn't it wonderful that there are still so many caring people left who volunteer their time asking nothing in return? God bless them all. Sure counters all the negative news you read. Karen

June Pelo
31-08-04, 00:50
Today while I was working in my sister's yard picking up debris, a young women came to help me. She had driven for an hour from Sarasota because she wanted to donate her time and effort to someone who suffered hurricane damage. And she offered to return later in the week to give more help. Bless her.