Today in weather history: Hurricane Charley made landfall - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

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Today in weather history: Hurricane Charley made landfall

Today in weather history, August 14th, 2004: A day that will live in infamy for so many people across the southeast. Hurricane Charley came barreling up the eastern seaboard. Its first stop: Florida. 

Hurricane Charley first made landfall in southwest Florida in the city of Punta Gorda as a major Category 4 hurricane with sustained winds of 145 miles per hour. Devastation took over the state on August 10. The 2004 Atlantic hurricane season was a very busy year and it all started with Charley which was the first of four hurricanes to ravage the Sunshine State that season. Charley quickly weakened as it moved onshore and was later downgraded to a minor hurricane. Hurricane Charley left Florida and entered the warm waters of the Atlantic Ocean on this day eleven years ago. It then gained forward momentum as is churned just off the east coast and propelled towards the Grand Strand. 

Not but a few hours later Hurricane Charley made landfall at about 9 a.m. just south of Georgetown, SC at Cape Romain as a weak Category 1 hurricane, with two-minute sustained wind estimated at near 75 miles per hour. Moving inland, Charley was downgraded to tropical storm strength. Charley moved off the coast near Virginia Beach on the evening of the 14th and crossed Long Island, NY and southern New England on the morning of the 15th.

Close to $20 million worth of damage was caused by the relentless rains and brutal winds of the storm - 135,000 people lost power. About 180,000 people evacuated the Grand Strand. Peak sustained winds in the state were clocked at 63 mph at Isle of Palms. The storm spawned winds of 58 mph at Folly Beach. Numerous trees, tree limbs and electrical poles were knocked down around the region. Flash flooding was also reported with rainfall peaking at over 7 inches in some areas. Thankfully there were no fatalities.

Hurricane Charley was the first storm to make landfall in South Carolina, at hurricane strength, since hurricane Hugo in 1989. 

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