History Making Hurricane Michael
On Wednesday, hurricane Michael slammed into the Florida Panhandle as a Category 4, with maximum sustained winds of 155 mph. One of the hardest hit locations, Mexico Beach, Florida. Michael was the first Category 4 storm on record to make landfall along the Florida Panhandle. As a meteorologist, I started tracking the unorganized cluster of showers and thunderstorms across the southwest Caribbean Sea last weekend. This cluster of unorganized showers and storms quickly became more and more organized and was named "Tropical Storm Michael" early Monday morning. I've covered many tropical storms and hurricanes over the years, especially while living (and working) in South Florida as an on-camera meteorologist. It quickly became obvious that Michael was going to be a major threat to not only Florida's Panhandle but parts of the southeast, including Georgia.
Before Michael made landfall, at least 30 million people were under some type of hurricane watch or warning, or tropical storm watch or warning. Hurricane warnings were issued well into parts of middle Georgia.
Wednesday was the day a good number of middle Georgians (including myself) took action and as many precautions as possible, as the reality of a major hurricane became more obvious each hour, and the forecast cone remained fairly consistent. A good part of Georgia was almost certain to get a quick sucker-punch from Hurricane Michael.
Early Wednesday morning, I kept checking the latest radar scans using one of my favorite weather apps on my phone. The center of what was eventually downgraded to Tropical Storm Michael passed just to the west of Dublin, Georgia around 2 a.m. The power flickered off and on several times. Each time this happened, I held my breath, thinking, "here we go, the power is going to be off for a while". I was, to say the least, lucky. My power stayed on, but there were (and still are) plenty of people in Laurens County Georgia where the power remains off as we march through this Friday.
The generator I had on standby wasn't needed at my house. But one of my dad's friends lost power, so I knew it was time to help out, not only our friends but our neighbors and community. The kindness and willingness to help others have really become the side-story to this devastating storm. I want to thank everyone, near and far, for their willingness to help during a time of need. That's the spirit of community!