Hurricane Michael Florida Landfall: Storm Destroys Homes, Trees, Floods Streets in Destin, Cedar Key, More

Hurricane Michael made landfall near Mexico Beach, Florida, on Wednesday at about 1:40 p.m. EDT and is expected to bring catastrophic damage. Even before the storm made landfall, its extreme conditions damaged homes, ripped roofs off buildings, downed trees and caused immense flooding.

Michael was first named as a tropical storm on Saturday and rapidly intensified into a Category 1 hurricane on Monday. By Tuesday evening, the storm grew in strength to a Category 3 hurricane and reached Category 4 levels with sustained winds of 130 miles per hour on Wednesday morning.  

Panama City/Panama City Beach

While still a Category 4 hurricane with sustained winds at 150 miles per hour before landfall, Michael’s winds battered homes along the coast of Panama City Beach, Florida. WDRB chief meteorologist Marc Weinberg posted a video on Twitter of a home, which he explained was new construction, collapsing onto itself because of the wind.

The National Hurricane Center forecasted storm surges to reach 14 feet in some areas and in the video Weinberg posted, water was already crashing into beachfront homes.

National Geographic photographer and storm chaser Mike Theiss conducted a live stream from Pineapple Willy’s, a restaurant in Panama City Beach. Parts of the restaurant’s roof had already been ripped off and he suspected the entire roof would be blown away eventually. 

Hurricane Michael makes landfall, damages homes, properties The storm surge and waves from Hurricane Michael batter beachfront homes in the Florida Panhandle community of Shell Point Beach, Florida, on Wednesday. Mark Wallheiser/Getty Images

Apalachicola

At noon EDT, a National Ocean Service water level station in Apalachicola, Florida, located about 100 miles from Panama City Beach, reported almost 5.5 feet of flooding above ground level.

“We’ve seen submerged vehicles. We’ve had dumpsters floating by us,” CNN meteorologist Derek Van Dam said during a broadcast. “We’ve had all kinds of debris; it’s frankly just getting a little bit difficult to stand up in these conditions.”

Emilie Ikeda, a Fox News multimedia reporter, posted a video on Twitter that showed water reached the leaves on some trees. She said the crackling of the wind, which can be heard in the video, “says it all” about how powerful the storm is.

Destin

In Destin, Florida, Northwest Florida Daily News reporter Annie Banks tweeted that the beach was “gone” and water had reached the boardwalk and condos. Another video Banks posted showed docks in Joe’s Bayou submerged underwater. She explained that a lot of fishing fleet boats were relocated from the Harbor to Joe’s Bayou ahead of the storm for better protection.

Cedar Key

Megan Plain, a sports reporter for WGFL, posted a video of waves easily crashing over the sea wall and said that streets in Cedar Key, Florida, were already starting to flood.

Indian Pass

A live stream from the National Weather Service (NWS) showed floodwaters racing through the street, and downed palm trees in Indian Pass, Florida.

Eastpoint

Hours before Michael hit, Market President of Centennial Bank Donnie Gay posted a photo on Twitter of a downed tree spanning a highway in Eastpoint, Florida.

Parker

In Parker, Florida, which is supposed to get hit particularly hard, storm chaser Jeff Piotrowski posted a video of a Texaco gas station canopy that collapsed around noon on Wednesday.

Mexico Beach

While driving through Mexico Beach, Piotrowski said there were downed power lines and debris flying because of the “destructive winds.”

Ahead of Hurricane Michael making landfall, Florida Governor Rick Scott implored residents to take the storm seriously and heed the warnings of state and local officials. Scott explained the storm would be deadly and local governments issued evacuation orders.

The Florida governor also warned residents that if they stay to ride out the storm, first responders wouldn’t be able to reach them until after the hurricane had passed. By the time the storm became a “potentially catastrophic” Category 4 hurricane on Wednesday, it was too late for residents to make a last run for it.

“Michael is upon us, it is time to seek refuge. Once you are sheltered, STAY PUT. Do not try to leave until the storm has passed,” Scott tweeted. “Multiple state and federal resources are staged and ready to respond as soon as it is safe.”

Unlike Hurricane Florence, which stalled over the Carolinas, Michael is expected to move out of Florida on Wednesday night and up the southeastern coast of the United States on Thursday. The storm is forecasted to move into the Atlantic Ocean and away from the United States on Friday.

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