Hurricane Charley:  image from AccuWeather

Florida is getting an unprecedented double bashing by Tropical Storm Bonnie and Hurricane Charley this week. During the day today Charley has strengthened to a seriously dangerous Category 4 storm with 145 mph winds. A hurricane's potential for damage is assessed using the Saffir-Simpson scale. A category 4 storm is described as "extreme" with widespread damage resulting. Charley is expected to hit the Gulf Coast of Florida near Sarasota later this afternoon. People near Sarasota can expect roof collapses, major damage to lower floors of buildings, widespread power outages, and major beach erosion. Ground less than ten feet above sea level may be flooded. The State of Florida has called for the evacuation of up to two million people and the storm damage may exceed 10 billion dollars.

How will Bonnie and Charley affect us in New York? Those clouds you see are from Bonnie. Expect heavy rain to start later this afternoon or this evening. The Weather Service is 1-3 inches with locally higher amounts possible. There's a brief respite on Saturday. Get out and enjoy! A much diminished Charley is expected to pass over us on Sunday. Keep in touch with the forecast as Sunday may be nasty.