Monday, May 21, 2018
Tampa Bay Weather

10 YEARS AGO, TAMPA BAY FEARS WERE SPARED

We were in the cross-hairs. On Thursday evening, Aug. 12, 2004, Hurricane Charley was barreling northward into the Gulf of Mexico straight at Tampa Bay. This was expected to be the first hurricane to hit us head-on since 1921 — and at least a Category 3, at that.

More than 800,000 people in Pinellas, Pasco and Hillsborough counties piled into their cars and tried to evacuate, turning the Gandy Bridge's northbound span into something resembling the Magic Kingdom parking lot during spring break.

Then came the turn.

About 1 p.m. on Friday the 13th — 10 years ago today — the National Weather Service announced that Charley had swung to the right and acquired a new target. About 3:45 p.m., the storm slammed ashore at the mouth of Charlotte Harbor.

Though it spared Tampa Bay, Charley — by then a Category 4 — ripped through Lee and Charlotte counties, with winds clocked at more than 145 mph. Then it pushed inland, wreaking havoc across Central Florida.

By the time it was done, Charley had killed 10 people and caused more than $14 billion in damage, making it the third costliest hurricane in U.S. history. It was the first of four hurricanes to clobber Florida that year, a nightmarish run of bad luck.

A decade later, the survivors of Charley's pummeling have pulled together a new life. Punta Gorda calls itself "the best small city in Florida," and the city manager says it's all due to the makeover from Charley.

— Craig Pittman, Times staff writer

Comments
Forecast: Potential tropical system threatens to drench already soggy Tampa Bay area

Forecast: Potential tropical system threatens to drench already soggy Tampa Bay area

Flood warnings have been extended for the Alafia River in Lithia and the Little Manatee River at Wimauma as the National Weather Service continues to monitor a broad area of low pressure that has a building chance of developing into a tropical system...
Updated: 8 minutes ago
Less than one year after historic flooding, Alafia River spills its banks again

Less than one year after historic flooding, Alafia River spills its banks again

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Published: 05/21/18
Forecasters monitoring system in Caribbean as rain persists across Tampa Bay

Forecasters monitoring system in Caribbean as rain persists across Tampa Bay

More tropical showers and thunderstorms could be headed to Tampa Bay as a low pressure system that is developing in Western Caribbean waters is expected to track up through the Gulf of Mexico, promising more rain for an already soggy region. Much lik...
Published: 05/21/18
A warm, muggy Saturday with maybe some rain this afternoon

A warm, muggy Saturday with maybe some rain this afternoon

Expect a nice day, but keep an umbrella handy, especially for later in the afternoon.The forecast from the National Weather Service in Ruskin calls for warm and muggy temperatures around the Tampa Bay area today and Sunday with daytime highs in the l...
Published: 05/19/18
Forecast: Rainy weather sticking around Tampa Bay this weekend

Forecast: Rainy weather sticking around Tampa Bay this weekend

TAMPA— The dark clouds and intermittent rain that consumed the work week won’t be taking any days off just because the weekend is here as more scattered showers and thunderstorms are expected through Sunday, according to the National Weather Service....
Published: 05/18/18
Forecast: Warm and rainy as Tampa Bay heads into weekend

Forecast: Warm and rainy as Tampa Bay heads into weekend

As temperatures rise Thursday afternoon, so will the chance of rain across the Tampa Bay. Expect to see some heavy cloud cover and scattered showers around lunchtime, according to the National Weather Service.Thursday morning will start with relative...
Published: 05/17/18
Forecast: Blossoming thunderstorms across Tampa Bay for the foreseeable future

Forecast: Blossoming thunderstorms across Tampa Bay for the foreseeable future

ST. PETERSBURG — Scattered showers and overcast skies will continue well into next week, as a weak weather system trudging north through the Gulf of Mexico could drop around 6-9 inches of rain across inland regions of Tampa Bay.Although a large area ...
Published: 05/16/18
Forecast: Weakening system will still produce soaking rains across Tampa Bay

Forecast: Weakening system will still produce soaking rains across Tampa Bay

ST. PETERSBURG — Following a day of soaking rain from a large low-pressure area that threatened to develop into an early tropical system, there’s some relative relief for the Tampa Bay area.The widespread rain that produced up to 6-8 inches in some a...
Published: 05/15/18
Dry no more: Tampa Bay is set to get soaked this week

Dry no more: Tampa Bay is set to get soaked this week

Tampa Bay’s dryspell ended emphatically on Monday.A low-pressure system churning its way up the Gulf of Mexico doused the region with up to three inches of rain Monday, according to the National Weather Service.The potential tropical system brought s...
Published: 05/14/18
Low pressure system in gulf has

Low pressure system in gulf has "medium" chance of strengthening into tropical or subtropical system this week

ST. PETERSBURG — Clouds, showers and thunderstorms in the southeastern Gulf of Mexico could strengthen into a tropical or subtropical storm affecting Florida in the next few days, National Hurricane Center forecasters predicted Sunday.In a 3:40 p.m. ...
Published: 05/13/18
Updated: 05/14/18