Photo for the SC by Chris Koerner
Photo for the SC by Chris Koerner

You never know when the day before is the day before.

That line is part of a public service announcement about emergency preparedness that pops on the radio every now and then. Some guy goes to work, goes to the gym, gets groceries, watches TV—stuff we all do daily. That, of course, is the point—we'd all handle the day before differently if we knew it really was the day before some sort of emergency.

Today is the day before the 10th anniversary of the day Hurricane Charley hit the Barrier Islands, which means that 10 years ago today it really was the day before.

Some weather events do catch people out. Rapidly developing storm cells in the Central Plains and Midwest come to mind. They can develop overnight when there had been nothing there on the day before. But huge storm systems, it seems, should never catch anyone out. A huge polar blizzard can been seen before it sweeps into the midsection of the country or the Northeast. The same can be said for those monsters that come from the south—hurricanes.

It can't be said that the Barrier Islands didn't know the day before that Charley was coming on Aug. 13, 2004. But it certainly can be said that no one knew the day before that Charley was coming in the form he actually did.

Charley was the secret agent of hurricanes. He fired the Barrier Islands a curveball—literally. The day before—that is, Aug. 12, 2004—Charley was small by hurricane standards and his fastball would have taken him right by Sanibel and Captiva. But then Charley curved and gained strength and on the afternoon of Aug. 13 he came crashing right through us.

It would seem that no one should be surprised by a hurricane with the technology we have in the 21st Century. But Charley proved that even hurricanes can be sneaky and that we don't ever know for sure when the day before is the day before.

Charley Virtual Museum

The Santiva Chronicle's Hurricane Charley Virtual Museum is open for business with new entries coming on a regular basis. Admission is free. Check it out under our Community tab on our home page navigation bar.

Island weather

What a difference a decade makes. The best meteorologists can do in the Atlantic Basin where hurricanes this time of year develop is talk about a system that has no name. It's just a number and has only a 20-percent chance of becoming a tropical storm, a percentage that The Weather Channel says is as low as the chances go. While today may be the day before something, it's not the day before a hurricane.

Weather here is even less exciting and we shall call it normal, which is fine. Today's high, according to The Weather Channel at santivachronicle.com, will be 90 with a 30-percent chance of rain in the form of afternoon showers. Wednesday is almost identical, as is the five-day forecast. It was 83 degrees on both Sanibel and Captiva at 6 a.m. today.

Beaches

There is a light chop, but the Gulf of Mexico remains at rest. Low tide on the beaches of Sanibel came at 6:14 a.m. today and returns at 7:25 p.m. High tide is at 11:58 a.m.

The sunset on Captiva Island comes at 8:08 p.m.