PUNTA GORDA, Fla. — Friday, August 13, 2021 marks 17 years since Hurricane Charley made landfall in Punta Gorda.
It was a Friday the 13th in 2004 when the Category 4 hurricane hit. It had sustained winds of 150 miles per hour, with an unofficial peak gust of 172 recorded at Charlotte Regional Medical Center. Twenty nine deaths were recorded in the state of Florida directly and indirectly from the storm.
About $14-billion worth of damage was done to property and agriculture in Southwest Florida. Downtown Punta Gorda was hit hard, and about a third of Charlotte County's Public School buildings were damaged or destroyed.
The statewide citrus crop was decimated, causing about $200-million in crop losses and a 50 percent jump in the cost of grapefruit juice.