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Tropical Cyclone Report

Hurricane Charley

9 - 14 August 2004

Richard J. Pasch, Daniel P. Brown, and Eric S. Blake
National Hurricane Center
18 October 2004
Revised: 5 January 2005

Hurricane Charley strengthened rapidly just before striking the southwestern coast of Florida as a Category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale. Charley was the strongest hurricane to hit the United States since Andrew in 1992 and, although small in size, it caused catastrophic wind damage in Charlotte County, Florida. Serious damage occurred well inland over the Florida peninsula.

a. Synoptic History

A tropical wave emerged from western Africa on 4 August. Radiosonde data from Dakar showed that this wave was accompanied by an easterly jet streak of around 55 kt near the 650 mb level. The wave also produced surface pressure falls on the order of 5 mb over 24 h near the west coast of Africa. On satellite images this system was not particularly impressive just after crossing the coast, since it had only a small area of associated deep convection. As the wave progressed rapidly westward across the tropical Atlantic, the cloud pattern gradually became better organized, with cyclonic turning becoming more evident in the low clouds. The first center position estimates were given by the Tropical Analysis and Forecast Branch (TAFB) and the Satellite Analysis Branch (SAB) in the vicinity of 9-10°N, 47°W at 2345 UTC 7 August, although at that time the system was still too weak to classify by the Dvorak technique. The first Dvorak T-numbers were assigned 24 h later, when the system was centered near 11°N, 55°W. Curved banding of the deep convection became better defined over the ensuing 12 h, and this, along with surface observations from the southern Windward Islands, indicated that a tropical depression had formed by 1200 UTC 9 August, centered about 100 n mi south-southeast of Barbados. Figure 1 depicts the "best track" of the tropical cyclone's path. The wind and pressure histories are shown in Figure 2 and Figure 3, respectively. Table 1 is a listing of the best track positions and intensities.

Late on 9 August, the depression moved into the southeastern Caribbean Sea. A strong deep-layer high pressure area to the north of the tropical cyclone induced a swift west-northwestward motion, at 20-24 kt. With low vertical shear and well-established upper-level outflow, the depression strengthened into Tropical Storm Charley early on 10 August. Fairly steady strengthening continued while the storm moved into the central Caribbean Sea, and when Charley approached Jamaica on 11 August, it became a hurricane. By this time, the forward speed had slowed to about 14 kt. Charley's core remained offshore of Jamaica; the center passed about 35 n mi southwest of the southwest coast of the island around 0000 UTC 12 August. The hurricane then turned northwestward, and headed for the Cayman Islands and western Cuba. It continued to strengthen, reaching Category 2 status around 1500 UTC 12 August, just after passing about 15 n mi northeast of Grand Cayman. As Charley neared the western periphery of a mid-tropospheric ridge, it turned toward the north-northwest, its center passing about 20 n mi east of the east coast of the Isle of Youth at 0000 UTC 13 August. The eye of the hurricane crossed the south coast of western Cuba very near Playa del Cajio around 0430 UTC 13 August. Charley strengthened just before it hit western Cuba. Cuban radar and microwave imagery suggests that the eye shrank in size, and surface observations from Cuba indicate that the maximum winds were about 105 kt as it crossed the island. By 0600 UTC, the eye was emerging from the north coast of Cuba, about 12 n mi west of Havana. Based on aerial reconnaissance observations, Charley weakened slightly over the lower Straits of Florida. Turning northward, the hurricane passed over the Dry Tortugas around 1200 UTC 13 August with maximum winds near 95 kt.

By the time Charley reached the Dry Tortugas, it came under the influence of an unseasonably strong mid-tropospheric trough that had dug from the east-central United States into the eastern Gulf of Mexico. In response to the steering flow on the southeast side of this trough, the hurricane turned north-northeastward and accelerated toward the southwest coast of Florida. It also began to intensify rapidly at this time. By 1400 UTC 13 August, the maximum winds had increased to near 110 kt. Just three hours later, Charley's maximum winds had increased to Category 4 strength of 125 kt. Since the eye shrank considerably in the 12 h before landfall in Florida, these extreme winds were confined to a very small area - within only about 6 n mi of the center. Moving north-northeastward at around 18 kt, Charley made landfall on the southwest coast of Florida near Cayo Costa, just north of Captiva, around 1945 UTC 13 August with maximum sustained winds near 130 kt. Charley's eye passed over Punta Gorda at about 2045 UTC, and the eyewall struck that city and neighboring Port Charlotte with devastating results. Continuing north-northeastward at a slightly faster forward speed, the hurricane traversed the central Florida peninsula, resulting in a swath of destruction across the state. The center passed near Kissimmee and Orlando around 0130 UTC 14 August, by which time the interaction with land caused the maximum sustained winds to decrease to around 75 kt. Charley was still of hurricane intensity, with maximum sustained winds of 65-70 kt, when the center moved off the northeast coast of Florida near Daytona Beach at around 0330 UTC 14 August.

After moving into the Atlantic, the hurricane re-strengthened slightly as it accelerated north-northeastward toward the coast of South Carolina. This re-intensification proved to be temporary, however. Charley came ashore again near Cape Romain, South Carolina at about 1400 UTC 14 August as a weakening hurricane with highest winds of about 70 kt. The center then moved just offshore before making another landfall at North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina at around 1600 UTC 14 August, with intensity near 65 kt. Charley soon weakened to a tropical storm over southeastern North Carolina, and began to interact with a frontal zone associated with the same strong trough which had recurved it over Florida. By 0000 UTC 15 August, as the center was moving back into the Atlantic in the vicinity of Virginia Beach, Virginia, synoptic data indicate that the cyclone had become embedded in the frontal zone and was, therefore, an extratropical system. Charley's extratropical remnant moved rapidly north-northeastward to northeastward, and became indistinct within the frontal zone near southeastern Massachusetts just after 1200 UTC 15 August.

b. Meteorological Statistics

Observations in Charley (Figure 2 and Figure 3) include satellite-based Dvorak technique intensity estimates from the Tropical Analysis and Forecast Branch (TAFB), the Satellite Analysis Branch (SAB) and the U. S. Air Force Weather Agency (AFWA), as well as flight-level and dropwindsonde observations from flights of the 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron of the U. S. Air Force Reserve Command (AFRES). Microwave satellite imagery from NOAA polar-orbiting satellites, the NASA Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM), the NASA QuikSCAT, and Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP) satellites were also helpful in monitoring Charley. Finally, National Weather Service doppler radars were extremely useful for tracking this tropical cyclone. Figure 4 is a radar image of Charley around the time of landfall on 13 August from the Tampa radar, and shows the very small, well-defined eye of the hurricane.

Ship reports of winds of tropical storm force associated with Charley are given in Table 2, and selected surface observations from land stations and data buoys are given in Table 3, Table 4, and Table 5. Charley destroyed instruments at the C-MAN observing site at Dry Tortugas.

Charley deepened extremely rapidly as it approached the southwest coast of Florida. Based on dropsonde measurements on 13 August from the AFRES, the central pressure fell from 964 mb at 1522 UTC to 941 mb at 1957 UTC, around the time of landfall, a deepening rate of about 5.02 mb/h . The hurricane's peak intensity is estimated to be 130 kt, which occurred at landfall in Cayo Costa, FL. This estimate is based on maximum 700 mb flight-level winds of 148 kt measured in the southeastern quadrant of the hurricane's eyewall at 1955 UTC 13 August. As usual, there were no official surface anemometer measurements of wind speeds even approaching the intensity estimate near the landfall location. The wind sensor at the Punta Gorda ASOS site, which experienced the eyewall of Charley, stopped reporting after measuring a sustained wind of 78 kt at 2034 UTC with a gust to 97 kt at 2036 UTC. Ten minutes later, that site reported its lowest pressure, 964.5 mb. Since it is presumed that the center was closest to the Punta Gorda site at the time of lowest pressure, and since Charley's maximum winds covered an extremely small area, it is highly likely that much stronger winds would have been observed at the site, had the wind instrument not failed. Instrument failures remain a chronic problem in landfalling hurricanes. Based on the few wind sensors that did not fail, Charley carried strong winds well inland along its path across the Florida peninsula. For example, Orlando International Airport measured sustained winds of hurricane force (69 kt), with a gust to 91 kt.

Observations from Cuba (Table 3) indicate that Charley was of Category 3 intensity as it crossed the island. Radar and microwave imagery suggest that the hurricane was strengthening as it approached the south coast of Cuba. Storm surge heights of 13.1 ft were determined from high water marks at Playa Cajio on the south coast.

Rainfall totals of up to about 5 inches were reported in western Cuba. Maximum rainfall totals from gauges in Florida ranged up to a little over 5 inches, but radar-estimated storm total precipitation over central Florida were as high as 6 to 8 inches.

There were nine tornadoes reported across the Florida peninsula in association with Charley, all of which occurred on 13 August. There was 1 tornado in Lee County (a waterspout that moved onshore), 1 in Hendry County, 1 in DeSoto County, 1 in Hardee County, 2 in Polk County, 1 in Osceola County, and 2 in Volusia County. The strongest tornado was in south Daytona Beach. This tornado struck around 2326 UTC, and produced a quarter mile long track of F1 damage. There were five tornadoes reported in eastern North Carolina on 14 August, in Onslow, Pitt, (mainland) Hyde, Tyrrell, and (Outer Banks) Dare Counties. The tornado in Dare County produced F1 damage in Kitty Hawk. There were also two tornadoes observed in Virginia, in Chesapeake and Virginia Beach.

A storm surge of 4.2 feet was measured by a tide gauge in Estero Bay, near Horseshoe Key. This is near Fort Myers Beach. Storm surges of 3.4 and 3.6 feet were measured on tide gauges on the Caloosahatchee River, near Fort Myers. There were also visual estimates of storm surges of 6 to 7 feet on Sanibel and Estero Islands.

c. Casualty and Damage Statistics

Charley was directly responsible for 10 deaths in the United States. In Charlotte County, Florida a husband and wife, who were in a mobile home destroyed by the hurricane, were killed, and two men died after being struck by flying debris. In Lee County, Florida, a man died as a result of a tree falling onto the structure he was in. In Sarasota County, Florida, the severe weather associated with Charley caused a woman to drive off the road and hit a tree, resulting in her death. In DeSoto County, Florida, a man was killed while in a tool shed hit by strong winds. In Orange County, Florida, a girl died as a result of strong winds blowing a moving van into the vehicle she was in, and in Polk County, Florida, a man drowned when he drove off of a flooded highway into a lake. In Rhode Island, a man drowned in a rip current. There were also 4 deaths in Cuba and 1 in Jamaica. Therefore, the direct death toll due to Charley stands at 15. An additional 20 U.S. deaths, all in Florida, were indirectly caused by Charley.

There are two estimates of insured damages in the United States from Hurricane Charley. The Property Claims Service reports insured damages of 6.755 billion dollars in Florida, 25 million dollars in North Carolina and 20 million dollars in South Carolina, making a total of 6.8 billion dollars in insured losses. The Insurance Information Institute reports an estimated total of 7.4 billion dollars in insured losses. Using a two to one ratio of total damages to these two insured damage amounts, a rough preliminary estimate of the total damage is 14 billion dollars. This would make Charley the second costliest hurricane in U.S. history.

d. Forecast and Warning Critique

Average official track errors (with the number of cases in parentheses) for Charley were 37 (20), 71 (18), 89 (16), 83 (14), 176 (10), 459 (6), and 777 (2) n mi for the 12, 24, 36, 48, 72, 96, and 120 h forecasts, respectively. In comparison, the longer-term average official track errors for the 10-yr period 1994-2003[1] are 44, 78, 112, 146, 217, 248, and 319 n mi. So the mean official track forecasts for Charley were better than the 10-yr average through 72 h, and significantly worse at 96 h and 120 h. It should be noted that there were very few forecasts to verify for the latter two forecast times, however. Table 6 lists the average errors from various numerical track prediction techniques for Charley. The GFS and FSU Superensemble generally performed best at hours 12-48, and the GFDL was best overall at 72-120 h - albeit for a small number of cases. Average official intensity errors were 7, 9, 14, 19, 25, 23 and 8 kt for the 12, 24, 36, 48, 72, 96, and 120 h forecasts, respectively. For comparison, the average official intensity errors over the 10-yr period 1994-2003 are 6, 10, 12, 15, 19, 20, and 21 kt, respectively.

For about 24 h prior to hitting the United States, the official intensity forecasts called for Charley to strengthen from a category 2 to a category 3 hurricane by landfall on the west coast of Florida. A special advisory package was issued around 1800 UTC 13 August to report that Charley had strengthened into a Category 4 hurricane. In this special advisory, a revised, eastward-shifted, track forecast was also issued, to account for a modest (by historical measures) deviation from the forecast track.

Although the official track forecasts for the landfall of Charley on the Florida west coast did, in general, have a left bias, the hurricane made landfall within the area covered by the hurricane watch and warning. One day prior to the Florida landfall, the 24-h track forecast error was 40 n mi, which is below the long-term average. Table 7 lists all of the watches and warnings issued for Charley. It can be seen that a hurricane watch was issued for the southwest coast of Florida, including the landfall location, just less than 35 h prior to landfall on that coast. A hurricane warning was issued for the same area just less than 23 h prior to landfall. No one near the landfall location should have been surprised by the arrival of this hurricane.

[1]Errors given for the 96 and 120 h periods are averages over the three-year period 2001-3.



Table 1: Best track for Hurricane Charley, 9-14 August 2004.
Date/Time
(UTC)
PositionPressure
(mb)
Wind Speed
(kt)
Stage
Lat.
(°N)
Lon.
(°W)
 09 / 1200 11.4 59.2 1010 30 tropical depression
 09 / 1800 11.7 61.1 1009 30 "
 10 / 0000 12.2 63.2 1009 30 "
 10 / 0600 12.9 65.3 1007 35 tropical storm
 10 / 1200 13.8 67.6 1004 40 "
 10 / 1800 14.9 69.8 1000 45 "
 11 / 0000 15.6 71.8 999 55 "
 11 / 0600 16.0 73.7 999 55 "
 11 / 1200 16.3 75.4 995 60 "
 11 / 1800 16.7 76.8 993 65 hurricane
 12 / 0000 17.4 78.1 992 65 "
 12 / 0600 18.2 79.3 988 75 "
 12 / 1200 19.2 80.7 984 80 "
 12 / 1800 20.5 81.6 980 90 "
 13 / 0000 21.7 82.2 976 90 "
 13 / 0600 23.0 82.6 966 105 "
 13 / 1200 24.4 82.9 969 95 "
 13 / 1400 24.9 82.8 965 110 "
 13 / 1700 25.7 82.5 954 125 "
 13 / 1800 26.1 82.4 947 125 "
 14 / 0000 28.1 81.6 970 75 "
 14 / 0600 30.1 80.8 993 75 "
 14 / 1200 32.3 79.7 988 65 "
 14 / 1800 34.5 78.1 1000 60 tropical storm
 15 / 0000 36.9 75.9 1012 40 extratropical
 15 / 0600 39.3 73.8 1014 35 "
 15 / 1200 41.2 71.1 1018 30 "
 15 / 1800     merged with front
 13 / 0430 22.7 82.6 966 105 landfall on south coast of Cuba
near Playa del Cajio
 13 / 1945 26.6 82.2 941 130 landfall near Cayo Costa, FL, and
minimum pressure
 13 / 2045 26.9 82.1 942 125 Landfall near Punta Gorda, FL
 14 / 1400 33.0 79.4 992 70 landfall near Cape Romain, SC
 14 / 1600 33.8 78.7 997 65 landfall near North Myrtle Beach, SC


Table 2: Selected ship reports with winds of at least 34 kt for Hurricane Charley, 9-14 August 2004.
Ship Name or Call SignDate/Time (UTC)Lat.
(°N)
Lon.
(°W)
Wind dir/speed (deg/kt)Pressure (mb)
3FPS910 / 060019.466.6130 / 98 1018.0 
WCZ52310 / 210016.170.2110 / 47 1010.0 
4154511 / 010022.171.1missing / 39 1018.7 
C6YC13 / 090023.482.0160 / 55 1008.0 
C6YC13 / 120023.282.9230 / 52 1009.0 
WDA40614 / 060029.177.4130 / 35 1018.0 
WDA40614 / 120028.978.6150 / 35 1017.1 
WGMJ14 / 150031.777.6180 / 38 1018.3 
A8BZ615 / 030037.074.6220 / 42 1017.0 


Table 3: Selected surface observations for Hurricane Charley, 9-14 August 2004.
Minimum
Sea-level
Pressure
Maximum Surface Wind Speed
(kt)
LocationDate/
Time
(UTC)
Press.
(mb)
Date/
Timea
(UTC)
Sust.
Windb
(kts)
Peak
Gust (kts)
Storm
Surgec
(ft)
Storm
Tided
(ft)
Rain
(storm total)
(in)
Grand Cayman Islands
Grand Cayman12/1300 1008.2 12/1142 21 34   0.90 
Cayman Brac12/0800 1008 12/1615 35 49   0.12 
Cuba
Punta del Este13/0000 1001.7 13/0100 36 45   4.95 
Nueva Gerona13/0200 1006.2 13/0045 39 49   1.95 
San Antoniode los Banos13/0453 989.4 13/0453 97 115    
Guira de Melena13/0459 971.6 13/0450 92 116   3.88 
Bauta13/0530 971.0      3.34 
Playa Baracoa13/0605 974 13/0530 103 130    
Santiagode las Vegas13/0501 990.7 13/0620 63 79   4.19 
Casa Blanca13/0530 1001.7 13/0630 61 76   2.22 
Playa Cajio     13.1   
Florida
Key West (KEYW)13/1153 1009.8 13/1413 42 50   1.44 
Key West Naval Air Station (KNQX)13/1155 1010.2 13/1255 34 45   1.23 
Marathon (KMTH)13/0953 1012.4 13/1506  34   0.53 
Summerland Key (NWS Handar)  13/1250 29 45   0.30 
Big Pine Key (NWS Handar)  13/1350 31 39   0.37 
Naples* (KAPF)13/1905 1004.4 13/1806 38 48   1.75 
Everglades City (KEGC)  13/1801 40 55    
Flamingo (KFLM)  13/1606 38 47    
Miami (KMIA)13/1941 1013 13/1710 26 34   0.47 
Fort Lauderdale (KFLL)13/1929 1010 13/1900 25 33   0.41 
West Palm Beach (KPBI)13/2045 1013 13/2000 26 33   0.40 
Brighton Reservation CO-OP       1.92 
Clewiston CO-OP       1.65 
Devils Garden CO-OP       1.75 
Marco Island CO-OP       1.04 
Golden Gate CO-OP       2.08 
Punta Gorda (KPGD)*13/2046 964.5 13/2034 78 97    
Fort Myers (KFMY)13/1953 998.1 13/2009 43 66    
Fort Myers (KRSW)13/1957 1001.4 13/1949 53 68    
Sarasota (KSRQ)13/2121 1003.4 13/0801 27 31    
St. Petersburg (KPIE)13/2259 1008.5 13/2205 22 28    
St. Petersburg (KSPG)13/2242 1007.1 13/0850 27 32    
Tampa (KTPA)13/2332 1007.8 13/2257 20 26    
Winter Haven (KGIF)13/2305 1000.3 13/2302 41 54    
Kissimmee (KISM)*  14/0035 53 65   5.20 
Orlando (KMCO)*14/0139 984.2 14/0134 69 91   2.11 
Orlando (KORL)*14/0129 980.7 14/0129 57 74   2.37 
Sanford (KSFB)*14/0213 983.4 14/0210 63 80   3.49 
Lessburg (KLEE)14/0158 1005.1 14/0135 29 34    
Patrick AFB (KCOF)  14/0044 28 43    
Daytona Beach (KDAB)*  14/0353 48 72   3.43 
Ormond Beach (KOMN)  14/0315 59 76    
Melbourne (KMLB)14/0100 1010.5 14/0222 29 39   1.44 
Ft.Pierce (KFPR)  13/1910 21 26    
Stuart (KSUA)  13/1955 20 31    
Vero Beach (KVRB)  14/0136 23 30    
Gainesville (KGNV)14/0442 1011.6 14/1952 10 13   0.04 
Jacksonville (KJAX)14/0612 1009.9 14/0358 17 20    
Craig Field (Jacksonville) (KCRG)14/0521 1008.2 14/0501 21 29    
NAS Jacksonville (KNIP)14/0456 1012.4 14/0433 30 34    
NAS Mayport (KNRB)*14/0529 1007.2 14/0430 37 46    
Fernandina Beach NOS14/0700 1008.5 14/0742 18 28 0.89 2.68 0.67* 
Mayport NOS14/0700 1008.3 14/0500 30 42 1.61 2.19  
Vilano Beach NOS (29.9°N 81.3W)  14/0500 27 44    
Bings Landing NOS(29.6°N 81.2°W)14/0500 1000.6 14/0500 18 57    
Cresent Beach NOS(29.8°N 81.3°W)  14/0500 26 58    
Georgia
St.Simons Island (KSSI)14/0723 1009.5 14/0654 18 22 0.68 3.82  
Alma (KAMG)14/0747 1012.9 14/2103 11   0.01 
Baxley CO-OP       0.51 
Savannah (KSAV)14/1024 1012 14/1143 13 17   0.53 
South Carolina
Charleston (KCHS)14/1258 1008 14/1322 25 33   1.02 
North Myrtle Beach (KCRE)14/1609 998 14/1538 36 50   1.52 
Myrtle Beach (KMYR)  14/1550 35 45    
Florence (KFLO)14/1552 1014 14/1742 20 25   0.03 
North Carolina
Wilmington (KILM)14/1750 1005 14/1731 48 64   2.02 
Southport (KSUT)  14/1700 33 51   2.26 
Elizabethtown CO-OP       3.32 
Burgaw CO-OP       3.32 
Whiteville CO-OP       3.22 
New River (KNCA)14/1815 1008.1 14/1929 42 57    
New Bern (KEWN)14/1900 1012.1 14/1847 34 46   1.26 
Cherry Point (KNKT)14/1855 1014.1 14/1857 31 44   2.08 
Beaufort (KMRH)14/1756 1017.1 14/1915 32 43   1.40 
Cape Hatteras (KHSE)14/2051 1017.4 14/2154 26 32   0.01 
Manteo (KMQI)14/2120 1015.1 14/2200  35    
Washington (KOCW)14/1900 1012.4 14/2001  50    
Edenton (KEDE)  14/2140 38 56    
Jacksonville (KOAJ)14/1835 1012.4 14/1835  48   1.73 
Kinston (KISO)14/1920 1009 14/1920  40    
Greenville (KPGV)14/1901 1010.4 14/1921  32    
Elizabeth City (KECG)14/2106 1011 14/2249 38 56   2.30 
Greenville CO-OP       5.05 
Kinston CO-OP       4.38 
Richlands CO-OP       3.41 
Williamston CO-OP       2.50 
Ocracoke CO-OP       0.04 
Virginia
Norfolk (KORF)14/2305 1013 14/2208 31 39   3.72 
Norfolk NAS (KNGU)14/2356 1013 14/2314 27 38   2.66 
Newport News (KPHF)  14/2218 16 27   2.34 
Hampton - Langley AFB (KLFI)  14/2214 e30 e42    
Wallops Island14/2354 1017 14/2354 18 23   3.17 
Washington National (KDCA)15/0051 1020.1  13 16   0.60 
Maryland
Ocean City (KOXB)  15/0053 17 25   1.86 
Patuxent NAS (KNHK)14/2355 1018.2 14/2355 15     
Baltimore (KBWI)15/0054 1020.0 15/0054 16   0.29 
aDate/time is for wind gust when both sustained and gust are listed.
bExcept as noted, sustained wind averaging periods for C-MAN and land-based ASOS reports are 2 min; buoy averaging periods are 8 min.
cStorm surge is water height above normal astronomical tide level.
dStorm tide is water height above National Geodetic Vertical Datum (1929 mean sea level).
*Instrument failed.


Table 4: Selected Buoy and C-MAN observations for Hurricane Charley, 9-14 August 2004.
Minimum
Sea-level
Pressure
Maximum Surface Wind Speed
(kt)
LocationDate/
Time
(UTC)
Press.
(mb)
Date/
Timea
(UTC)
Sust.
Windb
(kts)
Peak
Gust (kts)
Storm
Surgec
(ft)
Storm
Tided
(ft)
Rain
(storm total)
(in)
C-MAN
Sand Key (SANF1)13/1159 1007.8 13/1159 44 54    
Sombrero Key (SMKF1)13/1059 1012.4 13/1449 41 56 1.83   
Long Key (LONF1)13/1159 1012.0 13/1329 38 53 1.81   
Molasses Reef (MLRF1)13/0853 1012.9 13/0359 34 47    
Dry Tortugas (DRYF1)*13/1059 1004.7 13/1059 36 46    
Northwest Florida Bay (NFBF1) (USF)13/1200 1011.6 13/1554 31 39 2.13   
Egmont Key (EGKF1)  13/2100 23 27    
Anna Maria (ANMF1)13/2000 1008.1 13/2230 27 29    
St. Augustine (SAUF1)14/0505 1000.7 14/0450 51 63    
Folly Beach (FBIS1)14/1300 1005 14/1200 41 50    
US Navy Tower (SPAG1)(31.4°N 80.6°W)14/1305 990       
Duck (DUCN7)14/2100 1016.1 14/2200 32 47    
Cape Lookout (CLKN7)14/1900 1015.9 14/2000 30 46    
Frying Pan Shoals (FPSN7)14/1600 1014.4 14/1700 33 43    
Chesapeake Light (CHLV2)14/2200 1013 14/2251 43 63    
Buoys
Buoy 41009 - East of Cape Canaveral (28.5°N 80.2°W)14/0150 1011.0 14/0150 35 44    
Buoy 41012 - St. Augustine (30.0°N 80.6°W)14/0650 999.0 14/0450 37 47    
Buoy 41004 - Edisto(32.5°N 79.1°W)14/1250 1001 14/1250 43 64    
Buoy 41008 - Grays Reef (31.4°N 80.9°W)14/0850 1005 14/0850 33 43    
Buoy 41013 - Frying Pan Shoals (33.5°N 77.6°W)14/1550 1014.4 14/1650 36 49    
Buoy 44009 - Delaware Bay (38.5°N 74.7°W)  15/0350 25 31    
aDate/time is for wind gust when both sustained and gust are listed.
bExcept as noted, sustained wind averaging periods for C-MAN and land-based ASOS reports are 2 min; buoy averaging periods are 8 min.
cStorm surge is water height above normal astronomical tide level.
dStorm tide is water height above National Geodetic Vertical Datum (1929 mean sea level).
*Instrument failed.


Table 5: Unofficial observations for Hurricane Charley, 9-14 August 2004.
Minimum
Sea-level
Pressure
Maximum Surface Wind Speed
(kt)
LocationDate/
Time
(UTC)
Press.
(mb)
Date/
Timea
(UTC)
Sust.
Windb
(kts)
Peak
Gust (kts)
Storm
Surgec
(ft)
Storm
Tided
(ft)
Rain
(storm total)
(in)
Florida
Key West Harbor13/1200 1010.2 13/1612 32 44 1.44   
Cudjoe Key  13/1205  44    
Duck Key  13/0300 33 45    
Curry Hammock St. Park       1.04 
Tavernier       0.70 
Dry Tortugas / Fort Jefferson     6.0e   
Lake Okeechobee  13/2000 35     
Vanderbilt Beach*  13/1950  73    
Naples  13/1930  47    
Moore Haven  13/2045  36    
Immokalee  13/2015  26    
North Naples       7.48 
Arcadia EOC13/2130 975.7 13/2140  90    
Charlotte County Airport  13/2035  139    
Charlotte County Medical Center  13/2035  150    
Port Charlotte  13/2000  61    
Storm Chaser Mark Sudduth, near Port Charlotte (27.0°N 82.0°W)13/2057 943.6 13/2046 80 115    
Storm Chaser Jim Leonard in Port Charlotte, near Faucet Memorial Hospital13/2051 950.0       
Storm Chaser Mike Theiss, near Charlotte Harbor13/2042 942.0       
Storm Chaser Jim Edds in Punta Gorda13/e2042 943.0       
Big Carlos Pass (Lee County) (26.4°N 81.9°W)13/1954 997.1 13/1936 60 83    
Plant City  13/2355  54    
Fort Myers Beach  13/1930  56    
For Myers  13/2023  83    
Cape Coral  13/1940  78    
Matanzas Pass Fort Myers Beach     5.82   
Estero Bay Horseshoe Key     4.46   
Port Boca Grand     4.30   
Sarasota  13/2119  44    
Lakeland  13/2336  50    
Haines City  13/2325  67    
Lake Wales (10 mi East)  13/2300  65    
Poinciana  14/0000  39    
Archbold  13/2100  49    
NASA Wind Tower 421 (28.78°N 80.8°W)  14/0250 56 75    
NASA Wind Tower 22 (28.8°N 80.8°W)  14/0250 53 75    
Daytona Beach International Airport Wind Shear  14/0325  84    
South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) station WRWX Polk County (28.05°N 81.40°W)14/0015 991.3 13/2116  57    
SFWMD S65DWX Highlands County (27.31°N 81.02°W)  13/2306  50    
SFWMD S61W (28.14°N 81.35°W)14/0030 990.7 14/0028  78    
SFWMD S65CW (27.40°N 81.11°W)  13/2242  50    
SFWMD S65DWX (27.31°N 81.02°W)  13/2216  50    
SFWMD L001 (27.14°N 80.79°W)  13/2234  46    
South Carolina
Downtown Charleston (wind - 10 min. avg.)  14/1238 32 44   2.09 
Pineville (wind - 10 min. avg.)  14/1520 17 24   0.19 
Isle of Palms  14/1230 43 55   2.00 
Hampton       1.53 
Ravenel       0.45 
Walterboro       0.40 
Summerville       0.24 
Charleston Harbor     2.0e   
Oyster Landing (N. Charleston County)     2.94   
Myrtle Beach Springmaid Pier (wind - 6 min. avg.)14/1542 998.2 14/1506 39 53 6.0e 7.19  
Little River FD    50   1.69 
Myrtle Beach Pavilion    65   2.60 
Loris    50   3.09 
Conway       4.25 
Conway Horry County EOC       3.97 
Outland (Georgetown County)       2.97 
North Carolina        
Wrightsville Beach Johnnie Mercer Pier (wind - 6 min. avg.)14/1736 1007.3 14/1736 61 74    
Sunset Beach14/1600 998 14/1500 46 53    
Surf City    44    
Watha    39    
Wilmington Battleship USS North Carolina    61   1.39 
UNC Wilmington Marine Science Center    72   2.14 
Wrightsville Beach US Coast Guard Station    63    
North Carolina St Port    80    
Bay Shore Estates    81    
Carolina Beach    61    
Myrtle Grove    55    
Southport    74    
Oak Island (39th Place West)    66    
Oak Island (43rd St. East)    53    
St. James Plantation    58    
Holden Beach    74    
Cedar Island  14/2000  42    
Brunswick County     7-8e   
Bald Head Island     2-3e   
New Hanover County Onslow Bay     5.0e   
Pender County     4.0e   
Onslow County     2-3e   
Carteret County Bogue Banks     2-3e   
Whiteville Columbus County Airport       1.88 
Lumberton       0.62 
Longwood       1.80 
Moores Creek       1.56 
Newport       2.30 
Havelock       2.28 
Perrytown       1.23 
Virginia
Chesapeake BBT15/0000 1013 14/2154 45 51    
Sewell's Point14/2212 1015 14/2336 38 49    
Kiptopeke  14/2348 25 36    
Maryland
Ridge    16   2.07 
aDate/time is for wind gust when both sustained and gust are listed.
bExcept as noted, sustained wind averaging periods for C-MAN and land-based ASOS reports are 2 min; buoy averaging periods are 8 min.
cStorm surge is water height above normal astronomical tide level.
dStorm tide is water height above National Geodetic Vertical Datum (1929 mean sea level).
eestimated


Table 6: Preliminary forecast evaluation (heterogeneous sample) for Hurricane Charley, 9-14 August 2004. Forecast errors (n mi) are followed by the number of forecasts in parentheses. Errors smaller than the NHC official forecasts are shown in bold-face type. Verification includes the depression stage.
Forecast TechniquePeriod (hours)
122436487296120
CLP553 (20) 130 (18) 201 (16) 258 (14) 394 (10) 587 (6) 969 (2) 
GFNI52 (17) 97 (13) 156 (11) 227 (9) 227 (5)   
GFDI40 (19) 75 (17) 101 (15) 124 (13) 159 (9)396 (5)797 (1) 
GFDL36 (19)66 (17)89 (15) 119 (13) 128 (9)276 (5)629 (1)
GFDN56 (17) 96 (14) 147 (12) 206 (10) 326 (5)   
LBAR43 (20) 81 (18) 109 (16) 134 (14) 204 (10) 381 (6)726 (2)
GFSI35 (18)63 (16)91 (14) 117 (11) 169 (7)430 (3) 
GFSO35 (19)54 (17)74 (14)103 (12) 167 (8)362 (4) 
AEMI33 (11)80 (9) 111 (7) 144 (5) 67 (3)  
AEMN40 (12) 59 (10)91 (8) 140 (6) 64 (2)73 (1) 
BAMD50 (20) 102 (18) 163 (16) 239 (14) 358 (10) 552 (6) 956 (2) 
BAMM52 (20) 104 (18) 156 (16) 218 (14) 348 (10) 440 (6)711 (2)
BAMS60 (20) 111 (18) 154 (16) 189 (14) 308 (10) 394 (6)649 (2)
NGPI49 (18) 80 (16) 105 (14) 154 (12) 302 (8) 614 (4)  
NGPS62 (18) 93 (16) 109 (14) 133 (12) 245 (8) 526 (5) 1151 (1) 
UKMI51 (16) 98 (14) 159 (12) 221 (10) 352 (7) 697 (2)  
UKM64 (9) 94 (8) 136 (7) 204 (6) 338 (4) 495 (1)  
A98E50 (20) 99 (18) 140 (16) 170 (14) 341 (10) 592 (6) 1064 (2) 
A9UK55 (10) 110 (9) 154 (8) 190 (7) 305 (5)   
GUNS44 (16) 76 (14) 103 (12) 130 (10) 224 (7) 684 (2)  
GUNA39 (16) 67 (14)90 (12) 109 (10) 187 (7) 641 (2)  
FSSE36 (16)59 (14)79 (12)96 (10) 187 (7) 572 (3)  
CONU42 (18) 71 (16) 97 (14) 119 (12) 173 (8)459 (4)  
OFCL37 (20) 71 (18) 89 (16) 83 (14) 176 (10) 459 (6) 777 (2) 
NHC Official, 1994-2003 mean (number of cases)44 (3172) 78 (2894) 112 (2636) 146 (2368) 217 (1929) 248 (421) 319 (341) 


Table 7: Table 7. Watch and warning summary for Hurricane Charley, 9-14 August 2004.
Date/TimeActionLocation
10/1500Tropical Storm Watch IssuedJamaica 
10/2100Tropical Storm Watch IssuedCayman Islands 
10/2100Tropical Storm Watch changed to Tropical Storm WarningJamaica 
10/2100Tropical Storm Warning issuedSouthwest Peninsula of Haiti from the Dominican Republic border westward including Port-au-Prince 
11/0300Hurricane Watch IssuedJamaica 
11/0300Tropical Storm Watch changed to Tropical Storm Warning and Hurricane WatchCayman Islands 
11/0900Hurricane Watch IssuedFlorida Keys from the Dry Tortugas to Craig Key 
11/0900Tropical Storm Warning and Hurricane Watch changed to Hurricane WarningCayman Islands 
11/1500Tropical Storm Warning DiscontinuedSouthwest Peninsula of Haiti from the Dominican Republic border westward including Port-au-Prince 
11/1500Hurricane Watch IssuedCuban provinces of Pinar Del Rio, La Habana, Ciudad de la Habana, Matanzas, and the Isle of Youth 
11/2100Tropical Storm Warning and Hurricane Watch changed to Hurricane WarningJamaica 
11/2100Hurricane Watch IssuedEast of Craig Key to Ocean Reef including Florida Bay and SW Florida from Flamingo to Bonita Beach 
12/0300Hurricane Watch IssuedNorth of Bonita Beach Florida to Anna Maria Island 
12/0900Hurricane Watch changed to Hurricane WarningFlorida Keys from the Dry Tortugas to the Seven Mile Bridge and SW Florida from E Cape Sable to Bonita Beach 
12/0900Tropical Storm Warning IssuedFlorida Keys from Seven Mile Bridge to Ocean Reef including Florida Bay nd on the mainland west of Ocean Reef to E Cape Sable 
12/0900Hurricane Watch IssuedN of Bonita Beach to Tarpon Springs 
12/1500Hurricane Watch IssuedN of Tarpon Springs to Suwannee River Florida 
12/1500Hurricane Watch changed to Hurricane WarningCuban provinces of Pinar Del Rio, La Habana, Ciudad de la Habana, Matanzas, and the Isle of Youth 
12/1500Hurricane Warning DiscontinuedJamaica 
12/2100Hurricane Watch changed to Hurricane WarningN of Bonita Beach FL to Bayport 
12/2100Tropical Storm Watch IssuedJupiter Inlet FL north to Altamaha Sound Georgia including Lake Okeechobee 
12/2100Hurricane Warning DiscontinuedCayman Islands 
13/0300Hurricane Watch changed to Hurricane WarningN of Bayport to the Suwannee River 
13/0300Tropical Storm Watch changed to Tropical Storm WarningLake Okeechobee 
13/0300Tropical Storm Watch IssuedS of Jupiter Inlet FL to Ocean Reef and N of Altamaha Sound to South Santee River South Carolina 
13/0900Hurricane Warning IssuedN of the Suwanne River to the Steinhatchee River FL 
13/0900Tropical Storm Watch changed to Tropical Storm WarningCocoa Beach FL to Altamaha Sound Georgia 
13/0900Tropical Storm Watch IssuedN of South Santee River SC to Cape Fear North Carolina 
13/1100Hurricane Warning DiscontinuedCuban provinces of Pinar Del Rio, La Habana, Ciudad de la Habana, Matanzas, and the Isle of Youth 
13/1500Tropical Storm Watch IssuedNorth of Cape Fear NC to Oregon Inlet NC including Pamlico Sound 
13/1500Hurricane Watch IssuedFlagler Beach FL northward to the Savannah River near the GA/SC border 
13/1500Tropical Storm Watch changed to Tropical Storm WarningS of Cocoa Beach FL to Jupiter Inlet FL 
13/1800Tropical Storm Warning changed to Hurricane WarningCocoa Beach FL to Altamaha Sound GA 
13/1800Tropical Storm Watch changed to Hurricane WarningN of Altamaha Sound GA to South Santee River SC 
13/1800Tropical Storm Watch changed to Tropical Storm Warning and Hurricane WatchN of South Santee River SC to Cape Lookout North Carolina 
13/2100Watches/Warnings DiscontinuedS of Jupiter Inlet along the Florida E coast to Ocean Reef and for all of the FL Keys 
13/2100Tropical Storm Warning and Hurricane Watch changed to Hurricane WarningN of South Santee River SC to Cape Lookout North Carolina 
13/2100Tropical Storm Watch IssuedN of Oregon Inlet NC to Chincoteague Virgina including Albemarle Sound and for Lower Chesapeake Bay South of Smith Point 
14/0100Watches/Warnings DiscontinuedAll of the Florida West Coast 
14/0300Tropical Storm Warning DiscontinuedLake Okeechobee, FL 
14/0300Tropical Storm Watch changed to Hurricane WarningN of Cape Lookout NC to Oregon Inlet including Pamlico and Albemarle Sounds 
14/0300Tropical Storm Watch changed to Tropical Storm WarningN of Oregon Inlet NC to Chincoteague VA including Lower Chesapeake Bay South of Smith Point 
14/0600Tropical Storm Warning DiscontinuedS of Cocoa Beach FL to Jupiter Inlet FL 
14/0900Tropical Storm Watch changed to Hurricane WarningN of Oregon Inlet NC to the N Carolina/Virginia state border 
14/0900Tropical Storm Warning IssuedN of Chincoteague Virginia to Sandy Hook New Jersey including Upper Chesapeake Bay, the Tidal Potomac and Delaware Bay 
14/0900Tropical Storm Watch IssuedN of Sandy Hook NJ to the Merrimack River Massachusetts including New York Harbor and Long Island Sound 
14/0900Hurricane Warning DiscontinuedAltamaha Sound GA south to Cocoa Beach FL 
14/1500Hurricane Warning DiscontinuedSouth of the South Santee River SC to Altamaha Sound GA 
14/1500Tropical Storm Watch changed to Tropical Storm WarningN of Sandy Hook NJ to the Merrimack River MA including New York Harbor and Long Island Sound 
14/1800Hurricane Warning changed to Tropical Storm WarningLittle River Inlet South Carolina to the NC/VA border 
14/1800Hurricane Warning DiscontinuedS of Little River Inlet SC to South Santee River SC 
14/2100Tropical Storm Warning DiscontinuedS of Cape Lookout NC to Little River Inlet SC 
15/0000Tropical Storm Warning DiscontinuedS of Oregon Inlet NC to Cape Lookout NC including Pamlico Sound and for Chesapeake Bay N of Smith Point including the Tidal Potomac 
15/0300Tropical Storm Warning DiscontinuedW of New Haven Connecticut to Oregon Inlet NC and Long Island W of Fire Island 
15/1230Tropical Storm Warning DiscontinuedW of Watch Hill Rhode Island and for Long Island 
15/1500All Warnings Discontinued 

Best track positions for Hurricane Charley

Figure 1: Best track positions for Hurricane Charley, 9-14 August 2004.

Selected wind observations and best track maximum sustained surface wind speed curve for Hurricane Charley

Figure 2: Selected wind observations and best track maximum sustained surface wind speed curve for Hurricane Charley, 9-14 August 2004. Aircraft observations have been adjusted for elevation using 90% and 80% reduction factors for observations from 700 mb and 850 mb, respectively.

Pressure observations and minimum central pressure curve for Hurricane Charley

Figure 3: Pressure observations and minimum central pressure curve for Hurricane Charley, 9-14 August 2004.

Radar image of Hurricane Charley from the Tampa Bay National Weather Service Forecast Office

Figure 4: Radar image of Hurricane Charley from the Tampa Bay National Weather Service Forecast Office Doppler Radar at 2056 UTC 13 August 2004.



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