Forecast tracks can change at the last minute

Reporter: Erika Jackson Writer: Drew Hill
Published: Updated:
charley damage
Credit: Patti Byrski

Whether you’re new to Florida, or you’ve lived here for decades an important thing to remember is that storm tracks are fluid and that they may change quite a bit over the next few days.

Elsa’s track reminds those who were here for Hurricane Charley in 2004 that anything can happen.

While there is quite a bit of uncertainty, and we’re still unsure if any last-minute shifts will occur.

“If that continues, it will be coming in unfortunately at the cape haze peninsula or on the west side of the mouth of Charlotte Harbor,” said Jim Farrell, former WINK Chief Meteorologist.

Many of you were glued to your televisions in 2004 when Hurricane Charley made a last-minute shift.

The Category Four storm raced toward Patti Byrski’s home in Deep Creek.

“I don’t think we even brought the patio furniture in. I mean, we really did not take it that seriously,” Byrski said.

The damage was serious and lessons were learned. Don’t take any chances when a storm is nearby because it just might hit you.

“We take every storm seriously, every single one,” said Byrski.

And, she’s going to continue stocking up and taking these storms seriously.  “I got tons and tons of garbage bags I know that is like the most important thing in the whole world. I got a bunch more Double D batteries,” said Byrski.

Patti wants you to know what happens when you aren’t properly prepared. “Oh, because if you wait to the last minute, there’s like nothing people just panic a lot of times,” she said.

Charlotte County’s Emergency Management Operations says it’s important not to panic.

Crews are prepping the problem areas. They are also in constant communication with law enforcement and local hospitals.

Patrick Fuller is the Director of Emergency Management in Charlotte County. “We know the forecast will change. But we have to prepare as if we’re going to receive impacts here locally,” Fuller said.

Byrski’s message is to get ready now so you can thank yourself later. “Prepare for the worst, always prepare for the worst,” said Byrski.

The crews who put these preventative measures in place will also be the first ones out on the roads if Elsa does strike.

Charlotte County says it’s responsible for clearing debris from roadways and closing off hazardous areas in order to keep you safe after the storm.

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