Hurricane Stories

I was living in Delray Beach, Florida during the 2004 hurricane season. This is the story of my experience.
Charley
Although Charley never threatened to hit near Delray Beach, other parts of Florida were not so lucky. It had been expected that Charley would strike land somewhere near St. Petersburg. After travelling over Cuba, Charley was downgraded to a category 2 hurricane. This is a radar image of Hurricane Charley before it hit land.

Although Charley had been heading north towards St. Petersonburg, it suddenly turned eastward, and quickly strengthened to a category 4 hurricane. Instead of striking ground over St. Petersburg, it hit Punto Gorda Florida, much farther south.

With winds up to 150 mph, Charley became the second costliest hurricane in U.S. history, causing 10 deaths and $14 billion in property damage.

Frances
Less than one month later, a new hurricane, Frances, appeared on the map. For this one, Delray Beach was within the predicted path of the hurricane. After seeing the damage caused by Charley, we were going to take as many precautions as possible.

I had driven down to my brother's house to protect his house. Here I met his neighbors, which I helped several of them put their shutters up on their windows.

The shutters on the second floor were the toughest to put up. Basically the shutters were pieces of metal that we screwed onto the outside of the windows. The four or so neighbors houses plus my brothers house that we put shutters on took basically the entire day.

As far as size, Frances was a lot larger than Charley. Because of its enormous size, it started to rain a lot earlier than when the heavy winds arrived. Once the rain started picking up, I left the house in Delray Beach, to my brother's place in Coral Springs (farther away from the hurricane.)

This is a picture of the everglades I took just before Frances hit. It really looks peaceful here. This was about to change in just a few hours.

After staying inside for two days, it was good to get out and take a look at the damage. Many down trees obstructed certain parts of the the roads as we drove around the neighborhood.

Because the storm moved so slowly, rain drenched the ground, softening the soil beneath the trees. They became very easy to topple with Frances winds of 145 mph.

Visiting relatives house, we see a brach fell through their pool, ceiling. Total damage from this hurricane was about $8.83 billion.

When I got back to the house in Delray Beach, I came back to a little damage, but nothing major. A few trees had broken branches in the yard. This pile is what was cleaned up from our yard.

All along the main street Atlantic Ave, trees had fallen. Trees remained on the street and power was out for about five days.

With no work to do, and no power in the house to do anything, the only thing to do was find a place that had power and things to keep you busy. O'conners was the only place in Delray I could find. Unfortunately, there was a curfew in the evenings, so once it got dark, I had to find things to do in the dark.

Ivan
Hurricane Ivan, was too far away from Delray to do any damage, though it hit the panhandle pretty hard.

Ivan became the third most costly hurricane in U.S. history, responsible for 92 deaths and $13 billion in damages.

After landing on the Florida panhandle, Ivan followed an unusual path, first going all the way up to Virginia, then sweeping back down south across Florida, dropping more rain on this region.

Jeane
After crossing Puerto Rico, Hurricane Jeane sat for ten days off the coast. All of a sudden it started to head towards Florida. Once again, we all prepared for this hurricane. Most people kept their shutters on at least some of their windows, left from Hurricane Frances.

Before the full brunt of Jeane hit Delray, there would be periods of heavy winds, with lulls in between. Frances was spinning off little storms spiraling outwards. I left for my brothers place in between two of these storms.

This hurricane did not seem as bad as Frances. During the middle of it, we were able to walk outside, and hang out with the neighbors.

Though it didn't seem as bad as Frances, Jeane did do some damage. It was not always clear though which of the storms this damage was caused by.

With the power out again for another few days, the only thing to do was go to O'conners. This place became packed. People brought instruments from home to keep the others entertained. Again though, the curfew meant I had to spend my evenings alone at home in the dark.