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2004 Aug  31

Port Charlotte, Florida

Charley's Fury Finds Filam Family

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. (BASTA PINOY NEWS) -- Rose Villadarez stood in front of debris and a fallen tree at what used to be her home in Punta Gorda, Florida. As hurricane Charley claimed its 25th victim in Florida, thousands of people remained without power.

"We have to start all over again," said Rose, surveying the damage that crushed her house and buried whatever important personal belongings left inside.

"Talagang parang galit na galit yung hurricane," sighed Rose. "Pero hindi ako galit. Kasi ang anak ko, ang asawa ko, at ako buhay. Iyon and papasalamat ko sa Diyos, na buhay kami." (The hurricane really raged. But I'm not mad. Because we are alive. That is what I thank God for).

Tropical Storm Charley grew out from the Caribbean Sea last Aug. 9th and quickly developed into a hurricane the following day as it moved towards Cuba as it gathered strength to become a Category 3 hurricane overnight with sustained winds of 110 mph. By Friday, August 13th, Charley started moving towards Florida.
Charley's Damage to Filam Home in Port Charlotte Florida
Roof truss ripped through dining room ceiling.

 Weather authorities projected Charley to hit the Tampa Bay area just off the Gulf of Mexico but by about 2 p.m., Friday, Charley changed its course and gathered strength that made it a Category 4 hurricane. It made landfall on Charlotte Harbor where many were caught unprepared.

Charleys a cateogry 4 hurricane hit Port Charlotte Florida
BASTA PINOY NEWS cover story on hurricane Charley

Rose recounted what happened:

"I just prepared lumpia for the Penafrancia and was watching TV when they announced the hurricane changed course and was headed our way. Then the TV went dead.”

“The radio was still working and we heard that hurricane winds were battering Harbor Heights and wiping out the Holiday Inn and Best Western hotels.”

“My husband directed me and my daughter Johanna to get into the closet, as there is an uninvited guest coming (Charley).”

Charleys a cateogry 4 hurricane hit Port Charlotte Florida 
Hurricane Charley making landfall on August 13, 2004 around Cayo Costa, just north of Captiva Island, Florida. (Noaa)

“As the three of us huddled in the closet, we could hear the terrifying moaning and howling sound outside. Then we heard crashing sounds. The ceiling in the closet began breaking up and fell on my daughter. I had to dig her up from under the debris and wooden pieces. I glimpsed at my furniture being tossed over and objects flung around the room.”

“Giovanni directed us to get under the bed. From there I called 911 using my cellphone. They told us they cannot pull us out from the middle of the storm. They told us to take it easy and relax.”

“We prayed, I said to myself how can we relax if we are going to die soon, at least thats how we thought things will end. That was about 4:30 p.m.”

The NOAA Hurricane Center reported that "at 5 p.m. EDT, the center of Hurricane Charley was located near latitude 26.9 north, longitude 82.2 west or about 30 miles west-northwest of Ft. Myers, Fla."  Charley's maximum sustained winds were near 140 mph with higher gusts."

After the storm, at about 6:30 p.m. relatives picked up Rose's family and brought to their home.

“My family also want to thank Dr. Keith Williams of Port Charlotte for giving us assistance.”  (Basta Pinoy News)


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