Category 4 Hurricane Charley Chase Account - August 13th 2004
Watch video from inside Hurricane Charley's eyewall here:
Radar Image of Ultimate Chase's Location During Hurricane Charley !
Location During Intense Eyewall: Charlotte Harbor, Florida
Click Here To See Hurricane Charley Radar Animation
Hurricane Charley Satellite Image and Final Track:
Hurricane Charley Satellite Image Property Of NOAA Hurricane Charley Track Map Property Of NOAA
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Hurricane Charley Video:
Hurricane Charley Gas Station (Part 1): Exclusive Video of one of the strongest wind gust ever recorded on video inside a Hurricane's inner eyewall. At the 03:08 mark in this video you will witness a Category 5 wind gust estimated over 155mph !!
Hurricane Charley Mission (Part 2): The ENTIRE Hurricane Charley mission with all scenes.
Other Links:
<< Click Logo To Watch Hurricane Charley Video - Part 1
<< Click Here To Watch Hurricane Charley Video - Part 2
Hurricane Charley Photos:
Video still image of extreme wind gust over 155 MPH inside the eyewall of Hurricane Charley !!
Before Eyewall Before Eyewall
After Eyewall (Taken while in the eye) After Eyewall (Taken while in the eye)
Hurricane Charley Stock Video Stills and Photos Copyright © Ultimate Chase Video Services
High Resolution Satellite Photo Of Charlotte Harbor in 2002. Photo courtesy of NASA
Aerial Photo Of Charlotte Harbor (2002): This arrow points to the location of the Race Trac gas station on US Hwy 41 in Charlotte Harbor. This arrow also represents the wind direction when the gas station awning was ripped to shreds by winds over 160mph in the northern eyewall.
Location 1: Ultimate Chase's location at the Race Trac Gas Station
This is the location of the race trac gas station. This area was devastated as the north-eastern eyewall of Hurricane Charley crossed with a super intense wind gust that lasted for approximately 5 minutes ! This intense southeast wind blast blew across peace river unobstructed and slammed into Charlotte Harbor.
Location 2: Charlotte County Regional Medical Center
National Hurricane Center lists an un-official wind gust of 150knots from this location. This equates to 173mph !!
Hurricane Charley Chase Account:
Chase Account: While all the forecast tracks were agreeing on a landfall in the Tampa/St. Pete area, I didn't fully commit to this area because I know that it really is impossible for humans or computers to forecast a track of a Hurricane with 100 % accuracy and I always stay prepared for all possibilities. I posted up at a data stop just south of the skyway bridge and knew this bridge would be closed as soon as the winds reached tropical storm force. The areas projected to be hit were on the north side of the bridge, but from the radar trends I wasn't sold on it making it that far north. I didn't want to cross the bridge to the north in fear of not being able to cross it back to the south if the hurricane started it's eastward turn earlier than project. I finally realized it was going to come in around the Ft. Myers area, So I blasted south to Ft. Myers to find a good location to get shots. I started hearing reports of Charley intensifying rapidly and I knew instantly this was going to be a "Huge" story. I stayed the night before at a hotel in this area and everyone was taking it lightly because they believed it would hit Tampa. I noticed allot of people that didn't evacuate and knew this was going to be catastrophic. Just as I found a good solid parking garage to use as a base, I noticed on radar that Charley wobbled a bit to the north and this would bring landfall into the Charlotte Harbor area, So I blasted back to the north and arrived into Charlotte Harbor, just 1 mile north-west of Punta Gorda. I was going to go to Punta Gorda, But liked Charlotte Harbor better because the winds would be coming off the water and this would guarantee the maximum winds this storm had to offer.
I arrived into Charlotte Harbor just minutes before landfall and didn't have much time to scope out the area for shots, So I picked the first spot I saw that looked like it had a few strong structures and parked my truck next to a gas station. It was wild how the winds were only around 50mph and suddenly increased to over 100 mph in only moments. I witnessed a patch of pine trees bend with the wind, then snap like twigs with a super strong gust that almost flipped my truck over. I knew then the real show was about to begin and I had to go back to the gas station I had scoped out moments earlier. I knew this gas station awning was going to go, But I didn't know if it would all go in one piece like a kite, or if it would go piece by piece. Just as I thought the location I was at was relatively safe, a large telephone pole landed behind my truck with a huge transformer on it that made a really loud crashing sound when it hit the ground. I moved forward a few feet and positioned my vehicle as close to the building as I could, but I knew I was stuck at this location during the eyewall because it was too dangerous to move around now and my truck would just be flipped over if I did. A large piece of a roof went flying by and slammed into the back of my truck and blew out my side window and rain got all over my laptop and the rest of my equipment. The rain was so thick and the wind was blowing so hard I couldn't see more than 30 feet away and I knew this was the eyewall and it probably wouldn't last very long since it was so small and compact and the hurricane was moving in quickly. I started to film..... The really intense winds lasted for about 15 minutes. I kept saying to myself, "OK, the winds can't possibly get any higher than this, can they?" and they did! I never have been in a Hurricane this strong to compare it to, but have heard reports of a recorded wind gust of 173mph close by and believe this to be true. Anyway, the sky got really bright and the winds dropped off instantly and I knew I had nailed this one perfect as I was in the eye of this beast. I measured 942mb on my barometer and knew I had to find a better place to go for shelter for the second half of the storm. The destruction was "Unreal" as this was my first glimpse around because it was impossible to see during the intense eyewall. The calm eye only lasted for about 3-5 minutes and I was getting shots from inside the eye when all of a sudden I was caught off guard by the winds and had to take refuge in a bathroom of a half destroyed antique shop that had all it's windows blown in. The winds started howling and I heard nothing but breaking glass, so I decided to stay in this bathroom and not worry about getting shots because it was too dangerous with the flying glass everywhere. While I was in the bathroom part of the roof came crashing down in the shop and I knew then I would have to ride out the rest of the storm in this small room for safety. I did get cut from glass on my arm, but nothing too bad. My heart goes out for the deceased and the families that lost everything ! Stay Strong !
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