by Jack Williams
Adapted from the AMS Weather Book: The Ultimate Guide to America’s Weather.
A s Hurricane Charley’s winds began to roar through his canal-side neighborhood in Punta Gorda, Florida, on August 13, 2004, Jim Minardi took shelter in the home of his neighbors Don and Connie Farquharson. He says they “settled in with a really good bottle of California wine” and opened the shutters on the back door a couple of inches to watch the storm.
The storm sounded like a jet airliner’s engines running full blast, Minardi says. “It was a banshee scream. That was just awesome to me. I was jaw agape, listening. It got so loud I was almost deaf afterwards. The gusts came with a ‘wham.’ It was just like a truck...we wondered ‘what hit?’ It was just a gust.”