Friday, August 13, 2004

Hurricane Charley Upgrade To A Category 4 Storm

A hurricane warning is in effect for all of the First Coast as Hurricane Charley races northeast at 20 miles per hour.

Charley now has winds of 145 with gusts to 165 miles per hour, this makes Charley a very dangerous category 4 hurricane.

Due to the rapid intensification the forecast track has been altered. We now expect the eye to cross the peninsula and go into the Atlantic near St. Augustine.

We still expect winds to gust to over 75 miles per hour but the shift of the winds out of the northeast will add the threat of a 4-6 foot storm surge.

Hurricanes are Categorized from 1 to 5 according to what is known as the Saffir-Simpson Scale.

Category 1
Hurricane has a central barometric pressure of 28.94 inches or more and winds of 74 to 95 mph.  The storm is accompanied by a 4 to 5 foot storm surge and causes minimal damage

Category 2
Pressure 28.5 inches to 28.93 inches, winds from 96 mph to 110 mph, storm surge 6 to 8 feet, damage moderate.

Category 3
Pressure 27.91 inches to 28.49 inches, winds from 111 mph to 130 mph, storm surge 9 to 12 feet, damage extensive.

Category 4
Pressure 27.17 inches to 27.90 inches, winds from 131 mph to 155 mph, storm surge 13 feet to 18 feet, damage extreme.

*Hurricane Georges, when it went through the Caribbean in 1998, and hurricanes Andrew and Hugo were all Category 4 storms..

Category 5
Pressure less than 27.17 inches, winds greater than 155 mph, storm surge higher than 18 feet.  Damage Catastrophic.
*Hurricane Mitch reached Category 5 strength in 1999.  Only two Category 5 storms - the 1935 Key West Labor Day Storm, and Camile in 1969 which devastated Louisiana and Mississippi - have made landfall in the United States.

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