TAMPA, Fla. — It was 15 years ago today that Hurricane Charley slammed into southwest Florida as a Category 4 hurricane.

  • Hurricane Charley hit Florida on August 13, 2004
  • 9 people in Florida were killed by the storm

As it rapidly intensified, winds reached 150 mph at landfall.

The damage to come was inevitable. Communities were isolated for several days, and homes and businesses were demolished.

While Charley was expected to make landfall in Tampa Bay, most of the west coast of Florida still had to be ready for the impact of the storm. 

The morning of August 13, 2004, Hurricane Charley started to shift to the east.

While Tampa Bay was spared, Charley devastated places like Captiva Island, Cayo Costa, and Port Charlotte.

Charley continued northeast across the Florida peninsula bringing a path of destruction that was described as a “20-mile-wide tornado.”

There was a wind gust of 147 mph in Wachula. Polk County reported gusts over 100 mph and there was a 106 mph wind gust in Orlando.

Hurricane Charley was responsible for nine deaths in Florida and caused nearly $17 billion in damages.

Charley was the first of four hurricanes to make landfall in Florida that season.