Florida Impacted by 4 Hurricanes in 2004

Source: NOAA

Florida, officially known as the "Sunshine State," was dubbed the "Plywood State" by media after it was battered by four hurricanes in only six weeks during the 2004 hurricane season. Nearly every square inch of Florida felt the impacts from at least one of those four storms.

Hurricane Charley - Cat 4

Charley was first. A hurricane warning extended across the entire west coast of the peninsula on the morning of August 13. But many people only paid attention to the center forecast line inside the track forecast error cone. That morning, the line was over the Tampa Bay region. But early that afternoon, Charley strengthened to a category 4 hurricane and veered a bit to the right, coming ashore at Punta Gorda, about 100 miles south of Tampa.

Hurricane Frances - Cat 2

Several weeks later on September 5, Hurricane Frances made landfall as a category 2 at Hutchinson Island on the Florida east coast. The center of the storm was very large, 55 to 80 miles wide at landfall, but as the calm center passed overhead it belied what was to come as Frances moved inland. As the storm cut across the peninsula and moved on to the panhandle it created numerous tornadoes statewide.

Hurricane Ivan - Cat 3

On the same day that Frances hit, Hurricane Ivan developed over the tropical Atlantic Ocean. On September 16, Ivan center came ashore as a category 3 just west of Gulf Shores, Alabama. Portions of the Interstate 10 bridge system across Pensacola Bay were severely damaged due to the severe wave action on top of the 10-15 foot storm surge. Storm surge occurred all the way to Tampa Bay, about 500 miles from Ivan's point of landfall.

Hurricane Jeanne - Cat 3

Florida's east coast was still cleaning up from Frances when it was hit again on September 26, this time by Hurricane Jeanne as a category 3 storm. Its 55-mile-wide eye crossed the Florida coast at virtually the same spot where Frances did. Widespread flooding rainfall of more than seven inches accompanied Hurricane Jeanne as it slowly moved west and north over the state.

2004 Hurricanes Graphic

The names Charley, Frances, Ivan, and Jeanne were retired by the World Meteorological Organization and will never be used again.