The Big Four of 2004

The Big Four…and this will surprise you, … but this is not about Sports and The final Four! πŸ™‚

Yesterday, I wrote about Hurricane Charley which hit the Florida Coastline 10 years ago Wednesday, the 13th of August 2004.

Of course, there was devastation everywhere, but Mother Nature wasn’t through with Florida…yet!

Many long time residents of Florida were hoping that Charley would be the Hurricane Season’s “biggie”..or finale, but the heart of hurricane season was just beginning.

Altho, hurricanes can strike from May through December, hurricane Season is typically the most active between mid-August through October.

The actual “height” of hurricane season is mid-September.

hurricane_risk (1)

In the United States, hurricanes can strike anywhere along the Atlantic Seaboard, the Gulf of Mexico coast, Caribbean Sea islands and Pacific Ocean islands and coasts. 

Yesterday, I told you about Hurricane Charley, which was considered Hurricane Number One for 2004.

Charley left Florida briefly and made a second landfall south of Myrtle Beach, SC, and tracked into southeast Virginia before fading away around the 15th of August.  

Then on September 5th, 2004…Hurricane Frances appeared.

Hurricane Frances

Hurricane Frances

Hurricane Frances was a category 4 hurricane as it hop-scotched across the Atlantic east of the Bahamas.  

However, Frances slowed down a bit to a category 2 when it made landfall on the Eastern coast of Florida near Jupiter and Jensen Beach.  

Frances brought heavy, heavy rains all the way from Florida to upstate New York, causing major flooding all along the East coast.  

Frances also spawned over 101 tornadoes in five days over a four day span.  


None-the-less, Frances caused roughly $9 billion (2004 dollars) damage, which included $100 million in damage to Cape Canaveral, Florida and 6 deaths.

However, as Frances was nearing landfall, a new threat appeared and was taking shape in the Atlantic Ocean.

On September 16th, 2004...Hurricane Ivan, a category 3 hurricane…. roared into the coastline of Gulf Shores, Alabama and surrounding areas such as the panhandle of Florida.

Hurricane Ivan

Hurricane Ivan

Damage was extensive along the Alabama and western Florida Panhandle coasts.  Perdido Key Florida was essentially wiped out.  

Simply put, Ivan was the most destructive hurricane to affect this area in over 100 years!  

Hurricane Ivan spawned 117 tornadoes in five states over three days, besting Hurricane Frances’ totals.  

Ivan pensacola panhandle

The damage from Ivan was estimated just over $14 billion (2004 dollars), making Ivan the third most costly U.S. hurricane, jumping ahead of Hurricane Frances just less than 2 weeks prior.

Sooooo, we always hear that things happen in three’s.  Hurricane Ivan was the last of the three hurricane strikes on Florida in just over a month. 

Hopefully, Floridians thought….this could not happen again…certainly not in this same 2004 season, …or could it? 

Unfortunately, just as before, while Ivan was wrecking havoc along the Gulf coastline, sending winds and rain and flooding into the Midwest…there was another storm forming in the Caribbean…. as Ivan roared ashore.  

Sept 26, 2004….Hurricane Jeanne, having devastated the islands in the Caribbean, looped around growing and diminishing in strength, finally fed by the high pressure system to the North, began her track to the Eastern Coastline of Florida. She intensified to a category 3 by the time she came ashore in the almost identical location as Hurricane Frances…around Stuart, Florida.


Total estimated U.S. damage from Hurricane Jeanne amounted to just under $7 billion (2004 dollars).

I found it interesting that the paths of the three hurricanes… Charley, Frances, and Jeanne all crossed through Polk County in less than two months.  Polk County folk had to feel “singled out” as it had been 44 years since that county suffered any major damage from a hurricanes.

There is a reason that I titled this post “The Big Four”.


Taken together, the “Big Four” Hurricanes of 2004, cost an estimated $45 billion, easily one of the costliest U.S. hurricane seasons. 

And when a storm is so destructive,  its name is no longer used in the routine six-year rotation of hurricane names.

Their names were retired by the World Meteorological Organization for reasons of sensitivity….Charley, Frances, Ivan and Jeanne will no longer be names to identify new hurricanes.  

I hope you found the above enlightening and interesting.  

I know I learned a lot about hurricanes in my research.

Oh, you may ask me why we live in a place that is prone to hurricanes…..and my answer is:  There are hazards no matter where one lives. 

Earthquakes, Tornadoes, Mud Slides, Ice Storms, Snow Blizzards, Volcano Eruptions, Forest Fires, Dry Deserts, Rain Forests, Dust Bowls, Daily Wind and more Wind…I could go on, but I will just say this:

We live in a tropical paradise all year long…. and we usually can count on at least a week’s notice of  a hurricane!! 

That leaves me plenty of time to fly up and stay with one of you until the storm passes!  πŸ˜‰ 

Me and my Captain, Jesse James our dog, Kitty Kitty our kitten, and numerous tropical fish…and…and…and…:)

Have a great week-end my dear readers!






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2 Responses to “The Big Four of 2004”

  1. Sandy says:

    Kari, I didn’t realize so much time had passed since those storms. You’re absolutely right about there being something bad happening in all places. I hope this is a calm hurricane season. Very informative post!

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