Thursday

Five year anniversary of Hurricane Charley.


As the five year anniversary of Hurricane Charley approaches I thought it appropriate to mark the occasion with a series of photographs that I took just after the storm devastated our small town of Bowling Green Florida.


After the storm had ended and the injured tended to I was sent out to survey the damage to the city. I took numerous photographs (too numerous to include them all) of the damage inflicted upon us by Charley. I have posted some of the more dramatic photos here to commemorate the anniversary.


The first series shows the damage to residences and structures throughout the city. (clicking on the image will give you a full sized view)











The second series shows the damage to infrastructure. Our patrol cars were damaged and our fire department obliterated during the storm. Notice in the first photo the stop lights are gone. I'm not even sure where they ended up after the wind stopped blowing.



The third series shows damage to our elementary school. I included these because the school is where the police department chose to ride out the storm. We wanted all of the officers in one place so if communications were lost (and they were cellular and radio dispatch went down) we could move into action and have an organized plan of attack.


A couple of us stood outside in a covered walkway during the first half of the storm. It was one hell of a ride and an adrenaline rush beyond comparison. We decided to go inside when a 20ft sapling that was about 5 feet in front of us was snapped in half and disappeared into the dark. Got a little scary about then.




The last series here shows why you do not want to ride out a storm in a mobile home. Fortunately we had no deaths or serious injuries in our jurisdiction but had these mobile homes been occupied the story would have been different.






Prepare, prepare, prepare. It had been nearly 60 years since a major storm hit this part of Florida. Luckily all of the agencies in our county had effective hurricane plans in place and were able to mount a relatively coordinated response in the aftermath of the storm. We received help from the National Guard and several central Florida agencies including Temple Terrace PD and Hilsborough County Sheriff's Office. Thanks to everyone that helped us through that mess.

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