(MCT) — For six weeks, Florida reeled under the assault of four hurricanes.
First Charley struck Port Charlotte Aug. 13, 2004, with 150-mph winds. Then Frances pounded Martin and Palm Beach counties, collapsing part of Interstate 95 near Lake Worth and sending gusts into Broward that left a quarter-million people without electricity. Ivan came ashore near Pensacola with 120-mile-per-hour winds and a storm surge that swamped coastal towns. Jeanne struck the same area as Frances, turning out the lights in most of Palm Beach County, ripping off roofs and flooding houses.
It came to be known as the Year of the Four Hurricanes.
Following that beating, and another one the next year with Hurricanes Wilma and Katrina, there have been dramatic improvements to Florida’s electric grid, shelters, forecasting abilities and ability to communicate. And while another season like 2004 still would be disastrous, residents would have more warning and stand a better chance of returning faster to normal life.