How the projected path of Tropical Storm Ian compares to Hurricane Charley

Reporter: Amy Oshier Writer: Paul Dolan
Published: Updated:
A view of Charlotte County from the WINK News Drone. (CREDIT: WINK News)

Longtime locals may recall the path of Hurricane Charley being very similar to the projected path of the storm seemingly coming toward Southwest Florida.

Hurricane Charley happened 18 years ago and surprised a lot of people when that hit Charlotte County.

Damage caused by Hurricane Charley in Charlotte County. (CREDIT: CBS)

Wayne Sallade was the Charlotte County emergency manager when Charley hit, but he’s since moved to Colorado. WINK News spoke with him about how comparable this scenario is to Charley 18 years ago.

“That’s the route,” Sallade said. “But you and I both know Charley was an anomaly. I mean, you know how fast he moved, laying amongst broken glass on the floor building in Punta Gorda. But thank God, there was no storm surge, or you would have drowned right there on that first floor of the old building.”

Former President George W. Bush landed his helicopter in the parking lot when he flew in to see the damage firsthand. Sallade was Bush’s guide in Charlotte County and with them was Max Mayfield who led the National Hurricane Center.

Former President George W. Bush when he came to Charlotte County to see the damage. (CREDIT: CBS)

Bush, Sallade, and Mayfield explored the area in disbelief and shock from what they saw. Charley was supposed to land near Tampa but suddenly, to the shock of a lot of people, changed course.

“I mean, Max Mayfield came over to me on Saturday afternoon, the day after Charley and he gave me a hug and he said I’m sorry. He said we had no idea,” Sallade said. “They just the models when they put input the data from Charley into their models, the models went because they hadn’t seen a storm that small. He was so tiny and moving so fast that he was subject to the upper air influences that came along.”

Charley came through Charlotte County leaving the area in shambles and disarray. Looking at Charlotte County in 2022, you’d see a lot of new landscapes and thousands of new residents.

Damage caused by Hurricane Charley. (CREDIT: WINK News)

Sallade may be living in Colorado but, he stays close to the action by following the models of the storm on WINK News and the National Hurricane Center.

Sallade changed his profession by becoming a professor of emergency management, teaching future leaders about disaster preparedness.

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