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Hurricane Charley Photos

Orlando Sentinal: Hurricane Charley approaching Orlando FloridaPics of Hurricane Charley as it roars its way across Orlando Florida.
Florida - Hurricane Charley slammed ashore Friday on Florida's Gulf Coast with 145-mph winds and surges of water estimated at 15 feet. The storm headed for the densely populated Interstate 4, which is flanked by Walt Disney World and other Orlando theme parks.

The hurricane struck west-central Florida at Charlotte Harbor, about 110 miles southeast of the Tampa area. Winds blew off the roof of a hurricane shelter in Arcadia, where 1,200 people had gathered, and tore apart small planes at the Charlotte County airport.

Three people have been confirmed died so far and dozens injured. Earlier, Charley was blamed for three deaths in Cuba and one in Jamaica. It is the strongest storm since Andrew caused widespread devastation in southern Florida in 1992.

Charley leveled houses and snapped trees in half as it raged into the western Florida coast, leaving 1 million people without power and an expected billion-dollar price tag before moving into the Atlantic Saturday. By 5 a.m. (0600 GMT), Charley was about 115 miles southwest of Charleston, South Carolina, near latitude 31.

By 5 a.m. (0600 GMT), Charley was about 115 miles southwest of Charleston, South Carolina, near latitude 31. 2north and longitude 80.5 west, and its winds had reduced to 85mph (138 kph). It was moving north-northeast at 25 mph (40 kph)and packing winds of up to 85 mph (136 kph).

One storm-related death involving a tractor trailer truck, possibly pushed by a gust of wind, crossed a highway median and fell on top of a car near Orlando, killing a child passenger in the car. Charley was blamed for four deaths in Cuba and one in Jamaica after it formed in the Caribbean Tuesday.

A category 4 storm - the second strongest on a scale used to rate hurricanes - Charley rated as one of the most dangerous storms ever to hit Florida. Hurricane Andrew was believed to be a Category 4 storm when it hit Miami in August 1992, causing $25 billion in damage. It was subsequently upgraded to a Category 5. Hurricane Hugo, which caused $7 billion in damage when it hit South Carolina in 1989, was also a Category 4.

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