What If Hurricane Charley Made Landfall At Tampa Bay? Modeling The Impacts


  • Graham A Tobin
  • Erin P Hughey
  • Raymond Miller


According to the National Weather Service (NWS), Hurricane Charley will go down in the record books as one of the most damaging hurricanes ever to hit South Florida. After developing as a Tropical Depression on August 9, 2004, the system grew into a powerful category 2 hurricane that pounded western Cuba a few days later. On August 13, Charley intensified into a category 4 hurricane with sustained winds reaching 145 mph (Pasch, Brown, & Blake, 2004). The projected path of Hurricane Charley took the storm along the west coast of Florida with the center of the cone running through the Tampa Bay metropolitan Area. While all areas within the cone are at risk, media attention focused on the 'direct-hit line,' of Tampa Bay (Johnson, 2004; Kaye, 2004; Stein, 2004). However, on August 13th Hurricane Charley veered several degrees to the east from the mid projection line, which put landfall not in Tampa Bay, but farther south in Charlotte Harbor. This presented serious problems for hazard managers since many people had evacuated to perceived safe areas inland.