Tropical Storm Bonnie passed through this morning/afternoon with relatively little problems. That's the good news. Unfortunately, that's about it for the good news for now.
Hurricane Charley remains a 105 mph Hurricane as of the last official update, although it appears his winds would be much stronger than that. Many expect Charley to be upgraded to Category III status by 11:00 EDT, Thursday night (8/12/04).
Tomorrow, not coincidentally, is Friday the 13th. For those triscadecaphobes, this could spell a triple whammy. One, it's Friday the 13th. Two, There are some projected landfalls at astronomical high tide. Three, this part of the nation hasn't seen a storm of this magnitude in 40 or more years.
For those who are in the warning area , if you are told to evacuate, you must do so, or remain at your own peril. While the landfall point is still uncertain, it would appear from all modeling and extropollation that Tampa/St. Pete is the bulls-eye, though any area 100 to 150 miles either way could be the recipient. Anyone with interests from Key West to Pensacola should have some kind of evacuation plan ready by now.
While it is entirely possible this storm could de-intensify or change course, it is also quite possible this system could intensify to Category IV. Therefore, it is most important to heed the warnings of the NHC and your local weather service, which is receiving the same data from NHC. We are facing potentially the largest peacetime evacuation in United States history. They would not call for such unless the danger is real.
If you own a NOAA radio, you should make sure it is on and have battery backup. If your preparations to protect house and home are complete, you should be heading to a shelter as soon as possible. If you haven't prepared your abode for a possible major hurricane impact, you should take whatever quick and decisive action as is necessary, and head for a safer location, if possible.
I want to wish everyone in the warning areas the best of luck and godspeed. I pray for a weak hurricane at landfall, but this has the potential to impart massive damage. Storm surge could approach 15' or even greater, in the areas hit with the eyewall.
Again, stay tuned to the official weather sources (but do check back here, this site will have all the latest, up to date data, warnings & information), and if you are told to leave...please...do so. This COULD (emphasis on could) be one for the record books.
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