And then it started. It whistled. It roared. I think it even snarled. For about an hour, the house shuddered and trembled as we clung to each other, my wife and me and our toddler son. After all was said and done, the damage at our house was minimal, thankfully. We lost a few shingles from the roof and a single beam in our pool enclosure was left dangling, its screws ejected by the force of the storm's 100-mph winds. Lots of neighbors weren't nearly so lucky.
Ten years ago today, Hurricane Charley whirled into Florida and over Orlando on its path from the Caribbean Sea up the Atlantic Seaboard. It would be the first of four hurricanes to strike Florida in a period of six weeks.
These days, on my drive to work, I still see Charley's imprint. A small forest along south Apopka-Vineland Road is frozen in time, many of its tall pines bent and twisted and unable to right themselves, a whole decade later. I imagine all of us in Central Florida that fateful night, even the trees, have vivid memories of that violent visitor from the tropics.