this may not be a very popular view, since it differs quite a bit from the others on this thread.. but i don't think the spot winds at your place were quite what some are saying. from the video i'd estimate the highest winds being filmed are around 115/120 mph sustained... briefly. they probably did peak at around 135 mph at some point in the eyewall--keep in mind the highest winds recorded in a storm generally apply to winds over the ocean. friction from land really causes winds to drop off quickly, even in a fast-mover like charley. they probably did peak around 145 right against the harbor. it's sort of a tricky thing anyway--with strong, intensifying systems you get eyewall mesocyclones that work sort of like large F2/F3 tornadoes, causing an irregular damage pattern. at localities it really is a random thing. hydraulic forcing from features such as buildings and standing foliage (e.g., the wind accelerating between buildings) cause local-scale differences in the wind speed.
anyway, all that said, i mean to take nothing away from what you experienced. a lot of guys wouldn't have had the nerve you did to keep filming and not let fear overwhelm them. jeff, maybe when you get bored with hurricanes you can follow the grunts into combat.
Naturally, I will tend to agree with those favoring a more intense storm. I will try to stay open in this respect though. When considering winds you must realize that I stopped filming outside well before the eyewall, and my visual record in no way indicates the storms peak wind speed.
All things considered, I believe (granted with a bias) that 115 to 130mph is just too low of a figure.
there isn't the degree of widespread structural failure you'd expect typical to cat 4 winds.
Hurricane force winds only extended 25 miles from the center of the cyclone. As such, the destruction, while extreme (and it was) is naturally going to be tornadic in profile, covering only a small area. To drive through the area is pretty incredible. You have extreme damage throughout Punta Gorda Isles wich borders the harbor, stopping just outside of downtown, and extending to a thin section of commercial structures bordering 41. Literally, five minutes of driving decreases the level of damage dramatically. While I am no damage expert, this looks pretty extreme to me:
You must also remember, building codes here are quite strict (150 mph I believe) and your analysis on wind speed in correlation to structural damage must take this into consideration.
You just didnít see damage like that of my ending montage with Ivan or Jeanne.
jeff, maybe when you get bored with hurricanes you can follow the grunts into combat HmmmÖ sounds fun.
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