Video of a Cat4.......wild stuff
Video of a Cat4.......wild stuff
Question though - who would sit there and take that video, and where were they??? I can't imagine sitting in my car while that was going on, not to mention near a gas station... not that modern gas stations explode as often as movies would have us believe, but the possibility exists....
If you will it, dude, it is no dream.
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. I think the pics above answer that question. Just as I thought the location I was at was relatively safe, a large telephone pole landed behind my truck and it had a huge transformer on it that made a really loud crashing sound when it hit the ground. So, 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 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 and I can't believe that mother nature can cause such high winds. 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 just blocks away 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 I knew I had to find a new 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 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 !
I'll take the predictable cold winters as my extreme weather where the only thing to worry about is whether your car will start and your fingers don't freeze. ;)
I can't imagine what a Hurricane would be like in person and greatful I never will.
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