Michael makes landfall
Hurricane Michael made landfall near Mexico City in the Florida Panhandle around 1:40 p.m. as a powerful Category 4 storm with maximum sustained winds at 155 mph.
Track Hurricane Michael flooding in real time.
Hurricane Michael crashed ashore Wednesday afternoon as a Category 4 storm, ravaging the Florida Panhandle with 155-mph winds and a brutal storm surge.
Already, flood waters have swamped hard hit areas. But remember, even after hurricanes pass, they often leave overflowing rivers and streams in their wake. Flood waters can take weeks to recede.
The Tampa Bay Times is collecting water height data from across the state in real-time. In the map below, click on any dot to see how high the water has risen, based on the most recent measurement available. As flooding gets worse and worse, more dots will turn blue. By Wednesday afternoon, Spring Creek and the Sopchoppy River in Wakulla County had already flooded.
-- Langston Taylor
It’s been a day, Twitter. Hope you Florida folks get some sleep tonight. Catch y’all tomorrow bright and early from the state EOC with news from @FLGovScott’s assessment of deaths/injuries/damage.Have a story to share? I want to hear it. DMs open. Also: email@example.com— Samantha J. Ghost (@samanthajgross) October 10, 2018
It took us hours to access Cedar Key Island to see if #HurricaneMichael had the same affect as #HurricaneHermine in 2016. We discovered it did not, but the town seemed almost abandoned as storm clouds charged north. @TB_Times @TB_TimesCurso @ByJoshSolomon pic.twitter.com/8wfd90BPcS— Brontë Wittpenn (@BronteWittpenn) October 10, 2018
Tallahassee damage not as severe as expected
As Hurricane Michael churned its way into Georgia Wednesday evening, Tallahassee appeared mostly spared from the storm, with extensive power outages but little of the catastrophic damage that officials feared.
By 7 p.m., Tallahasseans were already venturing outside their homes and clearing debris from their yards in the city's Midtown and Old Town neighborhoods.
Outside of a few uprooted trees, the debris was mostly small, with the capital city's live oaks withstanding the tropical storm-force winds.
Leon County officials feared Tallahassee was facing the worst storm to hit the area since 1894.
But more that 58,000 people, or about half the city’s customers, were without power as of 6 p.m., according to the city’s electric utility, which was already sending out crews to get customers back on the grid.
-- Lawrence Mower, Miami Herald
Gov. Scott warns that Florida isn’t in the clear
As Hurricane Michael, still a major Category 3 storm, spun into southwest Georgia Wednesday evening, Gov. Rick Scott warned Floridians were not yet in the clear from the hurricane’s inclement weather.
The governor, who requested a major disaster declaration from the federal government earlier that day, said the state had heard reports of two “devastating” tornadoes in Gadsden County and that they could still be possible elsewhere. He also warned Floridians to stay off the roads for first responders and be cautious using generators as crews fanned out to assess the damage.
“If it’s not safe to leave your homes, don’t leave them,” he added. “Listen to your local officials.”
Hurricane Michael ravaged swaths of communities along the coastline, leveling homes in Mexico Beach near where it made landfall and dealing substantial damage to installations like Tyndall Air Force Base. The storm, Scott said, also knocked roofs off buildings along its destructive plow through northwest Florida, including some correctional facilities he said were still assessing the structural damage.
388,160 homes and businesses across the Panhandle and Big Bend regions were also left without power Wednesday evening, according to the state.
Scott said search and rescue teams had already begun being deployed south toward Bay County and other affected areas along the coast, as well as by air and from the Coast Guard, stationed in Tampa and Alabama.
No fatalities have yet been reported, but Scott said he was concerned about people who did not evacuate ahead of the storm. More than 375,000 people had fallen under voluntary or mandatory evacuation orders before Michael hit.
“It came really fast,” he said. “I’m still praying we didn’t lose anybody. That was disappointing to me that everyone didn’t evacuate.”
Scott shied from assessing how prepared local communities had been in Michael’s wake, though his state emergency management chief had criticized some of their preparedness efforts in the hours leading up to landfall.
“We’ll see over time if people were ready,” he said. “This was a big storm, you’ve seen a lot of the videos that were out there.”
-- Elizabeth Koh, Miami Herald
A beautiful sunset over Cedar Key peaks out from behind dark clouds following #HurricaneMichael. In the foreground are the remains of a restaurant along famous Dock Street that was destroyed by Hurricane Hermine in 2016 pic.twitter.com/mZyQdYC3fd— Josh Solomon (@ByJoshSolomon) October 10, 2018
Germans visiting state shocked from Florida experience
Stefanie and Jo Schultz, standing behind the Trade Winds Beach Resort in St. Pete Beach watching workers set up for a wedding with a bagpiper, said they were visiting from overseas and couldn’t quite believe what they had been through.
"We are here on vacation from Germany for two weeks on vacation and we have been through the Red Tide, sea grass on the beach and now the hurricane," Mrs. Schultz said, eyeing the wedding preparations as dark clouds and intermittent rain swept over the beach.
But when asked if they would come back again, they said of course.
"It's so nice here in Florida," Mrs. Schultz said.
Further down the beach, Kim and Craig Ciborek, frequent visitors from Cleveland, wandered along the shoreline that had recently been inundated by a high tide that reached to the backs of some beach condominiums. A large pool of water was still covering part of a volleyball play area behind one of t he condos.
"I don't think I've ever seen it like this," Mrs. Ciborek said. "This is definitely different than it was just six months ago."
Still, the couple said they found the pounding waves and blustery winds quite marvelous, even if it brought up on the beach quite a few dead fish apparently killed by the offshore Red Tide.
“We’re seeing nature at its most powerful,” Mrs. Ciborek explained.
-- Craig Pittman
Guy in fatigues (I think National Guard) just briefly stopped. Because we’re parked on the side of a bridge ... he said US Hwy 98 is closed into Mexico Beach. Other routes “sketchy” at best. #HurricaneMichael— Zack Sampson (@ZackSampson) October 10, 2018
These tweets brought by the service on top of a bridge along Route 71, which smells like sap. Pine trees snapped like popsicle sticks. A deputy is following a bulldozer trying to clear the way. Look for @cliftimestweet’s much better pics if we can transmit. #HurricaneMichael pic.twitter.com/NZ931VM0w3— Zack Sampson (@ZackSampson) October 10, 2018
Road open! Making our way into Cedar Key. Stay tuned for dispatches shortly. We had heard the surge wasn't as bad as Hermine. Here's hoping.— Josh Solomon (@ByJoshSolomon) October 10, 2018
It has been 23 years since Mexico Beach was rocked by another storm: Hurricane Opal. Here are some photos from our archive of the damage, including an "I survived Opal" t-shirt. pic.twitter.com/jAF5uLteJ9— Steve Contorno (@scontorno) October 10, 2018
Downtown Tampa experiences some road closures
Flooding from storm surge brought by #HurricaneMichael has caused a handful of road closures throughout downtown Tampa, according to the city’s emergency operations center.
Minor flooding has shut down a strip of northbound Bayshore Boulevard between Swann Avenue and Rome Avenue, Tampa police said. Police are on site and will continue to divert traffic in the area until high tide subsides. Another stretch of northbound Bayshore Boulevard, around Platt Street, is flooded but passable, Tampa police said. But water on the northbound lanes of Bayshore leading to Davis Island is too deep for vehicles, police said
-- Anastasia Dawson
Times Staff photographers have been out and about all day to bring live coverage of what the area looks like.
Gov. Scott asks Trump to declare major disaster in FL
Shortly before 4 p.m., Gov. Rick Scott announced he had requested President Donald Trump declare a major disaster in Florida, which would speed up resources and assistance from the federal government. The request calls for full federal funding for debris removal and emergency protective measures, as well as additional federal money for other types of public assistance for counties. The state, according to Scott’s letter, has already spent nearly $40 million on responding to Michael.
Trump, at Scott’s request, had issued a pre-landfall Emergency Declaration Tuesday that opened up federal funding for some of the state’s costs and 14 of the most affected counties.
-- Elizabeth Koh, Miami Herald
Two sisters, who live in Midtown Tallahassee, said a large tree trapped their parents’ car during Irma, and the fear it might happen again.“That was really bad,” the 10-year-old said.— Samantha J. Ghost (@samanthajgross) October 10, 2018
Panama City resembles war zone
In the old historic district of Panama City, just past 2 p.m., the streets resembled a war zone. Tree branches littered the streets. Roofs peeled off. The large golden arches of a McDonald’s lay face first on the flooded pavement.
Gusts tore off the roof off the roof of the First Presbyterian Church, and toppled a large brick facade of is adjacent education center, the site of Panama City’s first high school in the 1900s.
Along Harrison Avenue, the main business strip, gusts exploded the glass windows at Harris Business Machines, leaving the rain to soak a series of copy machines. A ripped awning hung by a thin threat off one storefront. Decorative city trash cans rolled along the pavement like metal tumble weeds.
During the height of the storm, Mike Lindsey and his wife were trying to plug leaks in their business, Elegant Endeavors Antique Shop. The building’s owner had refused to board up the windows.
“My wife and I were standing back always because we could see them wobbling back and forth. We knew they were going to go,” Lindsey said.
The windows exploded loudly, hurling glass onto the street and atop an antique chair, an oil painting and a skeleton pirate Halloween decoration. “It was very dramatic. Very intense,” Lindsey said.
-- David Ovalle, Miami Herald
Power outages already running rampant
As the storm straddled I-10 Wednesday afternoon and kept inching north, winds and rain in Tallahassee began to worsen steadily.
The local National Weather Service station had reported as the storm was approaching that it lost communications with its radar around 1:30 p.m., and subsequent bands of gusts began to topple several trees in the area, including Midtown. As of 4:30 p.m., more than 52,000 of Tallahassee’s 120,000 customers were without power, according to the municipal electric utility, and 35,000 without Talquin power in the rest of the county — nearly 90,000 people without power as winds continued to batter the region.
Scott and Gillum, who have sparred over power restoration in Tallahassee, spoke on a call shortly before 3 p.m. to discuss storm updates, the mayor tweeted. Scott also spoke with the city’s utilities director, Duke Energy’s state president in Florida and Leon County Sheriff Walt McNeil.
-- Elizabeth Koh, Miami Herald
The First Baptist Church of Port St Joe was significantly damaged and water remains on the street near the church on Wednesday afternoon after Hurricane Michael made landfall in the Florida Panhandle. #HurricaneMichael pic.twitter.com/KWLta6iC0z— Douglas Clifford (@cliftimestweet) October 10, 2018
Vehicles attempt to navigate the flooded street due to #HurricaneMichael as high tide approaches on Shore Acres Blvd NE and Arizona Ave NE in the Shore Acres neighborhood of St. Petersburg. @TB_Times pic.twitter.com/UJO6i7fhjm— Dirk Shadd (@DirkShadd) October 10, 2018
The conditions in Tallahassee are slowly worsening as #HurricaneMichael approaches. Now the tallest trees are careening. Shortly after this video I watched one of the tallest, about 100ft, snap in half. Many without power pic.twitter.com/tZZ53Elo9e— Emily L. Mahoney (@mahoneysthename) October 10, 2018
A lot of people asking us to check specific places. Will keep posting from where we can, but the damage sort of dictates our path and access. Hopefully it helps. #HurricaneMichael— Zack Sampson (@ZackSampson) October 10, 2018
The wall of a warehouse lay in ruins in the alleyway of a row of downtown businesses in Port Saint Joe on Wednesday afternoon after Hurricane Michael made landfall in the Florida Panhandle. #HurricaneMichael @TB_Times pic.twitter.com/T4RvDEuo58— Douglas Clifford (@cliftimestweet) October 10, 2018
Steeple toppled but lighthouse still standing in Port St. Joe. The storm is still blowing debris. Trucks splashing through floodwaters and gnarled metal siding scraping along the sidewalk. #HurricaneMichael pic.twitter.com/pRqT9DuezK— Zack Sampson (@ZackSampson) October 10, 2018
Port St. Joe Lodge number 111, at right, lay in ruins on Reid Avenue on Wednesday afternoon after Hurricane Michael made landfall in the Florida Panhandle. #HurricaneMichael @TB_Times pic.twitter.com/gxjOJpgjRt— Douglas Clifford (@cliftimestweet) October 10, 2018
“You never mess with water.”
As water began spilling across roads near the marinas in Hernando Beach, Laura Cottrell was selling some beer.
The 38-year-old manager of Hernando Beach Gas Stop N Go joked with booze buyers Wednesday afternoon, around the time high tide was said to peak. She listened as one patron grumbled about a relative who hadn't moved their junker.
"It's the surge — that's what everybody's worried about," she told the Times afterward. "Most of our regular residents have just started finishing fixes from Irma, and if they get flooded again, it's going to hurt."
As a precaution yesterday, she pulled the wooden dock behind the waterfront store onto the grass. After her customers left Wednesday, she walked back to the yard and surveyed the water levels.
"It's a lot deeper now than it was," she said, referring to how much had pooled onto the sea wall there since yesterday. She believed it would get worse.
"I've seen the water do crazy things," she said. "You never mess water, never mess with fire."
The most noticeable uptick in purchases she had seen? People were buying between four and six packs of cigarettes rather than their usual one or two.
-- Justin Trombly
Pine trees litter a yard in Port St. Joe on Garrison Avenue on Wednesday afternoon after Hurricane Michael made landfall in the Florida Panhandle. #HurricaneMichael @TB_Times pic.twitter.com/29kZWl7B8Y— Douglas Clifford (@cliftimestweet) October 10, 2018
Pinellas County remains under a tropical storm watch and a storm surge watch. Above normal tides could reach 2 to 4 feet during high tides tonight and Thursday, which could cause localized flooding in low lying areas. Brake, Don't Wake! #PCMichael #PinellasEM #PinellasPW pic.twitter.com/Z6JPFP3iL1— Pinellas County (@PinellasCoNews) October 10, 2018
Farjana Akther, St. Petersburg, captures the wave action on smartphone at Pass-A-Grille Beach from Hurricane Michael, Wednesday, 10/10/18. @TB_Times #flwx #hurricainemichael #waves #stormyweather pic.twitter.com/K2y6SyNsv8— Scott Keeler (@SKeelerTimes) October 10, 2018
Lots of tall pine trees are swaying like toothpicks in the wind. Poses big hazard to those on the road in Port St. Joe. #HurricaneMichael— Zack Sampson (@ZackSampson) October 10, 2018
#HurricaneMichael intensified as the storm made landfall near Mexico Beach, Florida, at around 1:30 p.m. ET. @NOAA's #GOESEast satellite captured this view of the Cat. 4 hurricane moving ashore. Latest updates from @NHC_Atlantic: https://t.co/gcFrOMm2RR pic.twitter.com/ZIqmQslbYP— NOAA Satellites (@NOAASatellites) October 10, 2018
I can hear the loud booms of transformers combusting down the street, which was also a new experience for me.— Samantha J. Ghost (@samanthajgross) October 10, 2018
High surge water from #HurricaneMichael backed up the Anclote River in Tarpon Springs causing some street flooding in the historic Sponge Docks area Wednesday afternoon 10/10/18. @TB_Times pic.twitter.com/Iw8RjXJ5VG— jim damaske (@DamaskeJim) October 10, 2018
Heather and Jim Hendrickson out on Clearwater Beach metal detecting, not letting weather from Hurricane Michael spoil vacation pic.twitter.com/Au4fZXTYlf— Tracey McManus (@TroMcManus) October 10, 2018
An hour and a half or so before high tide, the water is coming up here in a New Port Richey neighborhood by the Pithlachascotee River — several neighbors parking cars on one piece of high ground pic.twitter.com/nYuRmAyAxM— Jack Evans (@JackHEvans) October 10, 2018
As high tide nears, Pasco residents survey existing flooding
An hour and a half before high tide in Pasco County, water was already rising in a neighborhood near the Pithlachascotee River.
Water covered the intersection of Cotee River Drive and Bellview Ave, in New Port Richey, and several neighbors had all parked their cars on the same small knoll.
Mark Alexander, 50, had watched through his window, and now he came outside to survey the flooding.
“I didn’t want to be surprised — putting my feet down and they’re wet, ‘What the hell?’” he said.
He’d lived in Florida on and off for years and moved to this home in March, he said, and he’d prepared himself for the event of a bigger storm, with two weeks of ready-to-eat meals for him and his wife.
This didn’t seem like it would necessitate those rations, but he couldn’t help but notice the water covering the drainage grates on either side of his driveway.
“I’m concerned,” he said.
-- Jack Evans
I should note that high tide here is at 2:20, so it probably won’t get much worse than this. A few stray pedestrians out, but most shops and restaurants are already closed.— Jack Evans (@JackHEvans) October 10, 2018
The Anclote River in Tarpon Springs is rising as high tide approaches Wednesday afternoon 10/10/18. The surge from offshore #hurricaneMichael is causing the river to back up. @TB_Times pic.twitter.com/u3JSlszjUZ— jim damaske (@DamaskeJim) October 10, 2018
Jose Macera, 47, and Addison Latimer, 45, ride waves and high winds from #HurricaneMichael on their 26ft boat "We didn’t stay on it last night, we stayed in the car. We were kinda nervous. We just bought it a month ago and I don’t want it to go down already.” #Skyway @TB_Times pic.twitter.com/R4qo90N9nu— Dirk Shadd (@DirkShadd) October 10, 2018
This is a message from Sandra "Sam" Himmel superintendent of schools. Due to the continuation of our schools being used as shelters, there will be no school tomorrow Thursday, October 11, 2018, for students and staff. We will continue to communicate with the Sheriff's Office.— CitrusSchools (@CitrusSchools) October 10, 2018
Video from the Sunshine Skyway bridge which currently remains open as winds continue to increase. One more MPH and #Skyway would close. Wind speeds are now 39 mph sustained with gusts to 45 mph, according to @FHPTampa @TB_Times #HurricaneMichael pic.twitter.com/CIH1z5gvM8— Dirk Shadd (@DirkShadd) October 10, 2018
Wind and Rain pummel the parking area at MainStay Suites, a hotel in Port St. Joe on Wednesday morning as Hurricane Michael approaches the Florida Panhandle with its main target estimated to be in the area of Panama City. (Oct. 10, 2018) Video by: Douglas R. Clifford, Tampa Bay Times
Sloppy surf brings ‘daredevils’ to St. Pete Beach
In St. Pete Beach and Treasure Island there was little sign that anything different from a regular rainy Florida day was going on. As high tide approached, some standing water crept a bit higher in alleyways but it wasn't enough to impede traffic on the main roads.
Instead, the one sign that a hurricane was passing by was the large number of daredevils with eager faces flocking to the beaches for the higher-than-usual swells.
"That's what we like," explained Mitch Hall, 30, who traveled down to Pass-A-Grille from Seminole with his brother Mike, 34, with their kiteboards.
Travis Miller, 32, of Tampa, said the surf was "sloppy" Wednesday, but seemed a lot cleaner on Tuesday.
"It's all right out there," he said."But there's a lot of erosion happening up on the beach. The shoreline is taking a beating" from the waves.
His friend Piers DeHann, 28, found the surfing delightful. He had been scheduled to fly home to London on Wednesday, but the flight was canceled because of the hurricane, he said.
“So I decided to come to the beach,” he said, grinning. For him, a day surfing was better than riding a transatlantic flight, no matter how sloppy the surf.
-- Craig Pittman
Resident doubts storm surge warnings
OZELLO -- Albert Yates built a fortress.
The 79-year-old retired builder imported Brazilian walnut -- “iron wood,” he said, so hard you can’t nail into it, only drill. From it he constructed his 13.5-foot high, Category 4 hurricane-rated citadel of a home, with pylons that go five feet into bedrock.
“I’m not going anywhere,” he said, dismissing warnings of a dangerous storm surge from Hurricane Michael on Wednesday afternoon.
Yates built the house eight years ago at the tip of Sanddollar Point in Ozello, a small wetlands outpost along coastal Citrus County where new construction is flanked by leaning shacks, where pickup trucks rule and the Confederacy still survives -- at least judging by flags hung from a few houses.
Yates has roots there. His mother grew up on an island only accessible by boat, and then raised him. He spent 30 years in Tennessee before returning for retirement.
Since he built the house, Yates said the worst storm surge he’s seen was to his chest. Hurricane Hermine in 2016 was nothing, and he doesn’t think this storm will be, either.
When Michael’s eye makes landfall, Yates predicted the storms outer bands will dissipate quickly. As long as that happens before high tide, scheduled in nearby Crystal River at 6:14 p.m., the flooding won’t be so bad, he said.
“I kind of doubt it,” Yates said of the storm surge warnings.
-- Josh Solomon
Hang on, Florida! We love you.— RainnWilson (@rainnwilson) October 10, 2018
Just 7 mph away from a Cat 5 ... https://t.co/bcmYJHGIDw— Samantha J. Ghost (@samanthajgross) October 10, 2018
Blown transformer in Tallahassee https://t.co/1VsSxAddg3— Samantha J. Ghost (@samanthajgross) October 10, 2018
The situation is about to get serious in parts of Bay, Gulf, and Franklin county. We've issued our first ever Extreme Wind Warning. This means wind gusts in excess of 130 MPH are expected as #HurricaneMichael makes landfall in the next few hours. Shelter in place IMMEDIATELY. pic.twitter.com/5nHmcKLGm0— NWS Tallahassee (@NWSTallahassee) October 10, 2018
“You waited too long...if you made the choice not to evacuate, please find a place to shelter, seek a place of refuge.”
There are skylights throughout the high school, where water is pouring in as #HurricaneMichael comes ashore. A sign for a traffic safety initiative holds an appropriate warning: “BUCKLE UP FLORIDA.” pic.twitter.com/ZoGJHlpdHj— Zack Sampson (@ZackSampson) October 10, 2018
Residents already wondering: Should I have left?
Even as the swells began to grow more angry on Panama City Beach, last-minute gawkers still flocked to the tourist hub, past the rows of kitschy miniature golf courses, deserted oyster restaurants and empty condo buildings.
Randy Simmons, 57, was enjoying his morning coffee on the deck of his condo overlooking the beach. He came to check on his property before retreating to another property he owns a couple miles inland. “I was going to stay here until it go to a category four,” Simmons said. “This is going to be a big mess.”
Simmons turn his left forearm over to reveal his name written in big black letters, just in case rescuers needed to identify him. “You just never what’s going to happen in the situations,” he said. “People do die.”
A couple hundreds yards down the sand, Jeff Moats was beginning to second guess himself. Originally from Arkansas, he decided to stay in his home on Panama City Beach. The reason: “My first hurricane. But I’m starting to wonder if I should have left.”
He walked on the beach with his friend, John Porter, 68, a Panhandle native who has ridden out many hurricanes. Port’s dog, Jake, bounded up and down the beach as water and foam crept up closer and closer, stopping only to relieve himself in the sea grass. “My dog doesn’t seem to mind,” said Porter, a tall man with a messy beard and a red “Make America Great” cap.
--David Ovalle, Miami Herald
Scenes from Bayshore Boulevard as wind, waves and rain begin to pick up more and more by the minute due to #HurricaneMiachel. City workers are mowing and a decent amount of joggers are still out despite the storm. Live coverage from @TB_Times: https://t.co/G35VvcAjBl pic.twitter.com/Dw5sF0vU9R— Josh Fiallo (@ByJoshFiallo) October 10, 2018
'Pray the boat’s still here’
Douglas Hodgins filled sandbags on Wednesday in Linda Pedersen Park, between Weeki Wachee Gardens and Hernando Beach, with a deadpan sense of humor.
The 77-year-old and his wife, Linda Hodgins, 71, left Panama City, which is directly in the crosshairs of Hurricane Michael, a Category 4 storm and strengthening. They have a boat up there.
“I think ‘had’ would be the word,” said Douglas, holding the shovel while wearing a Vietnam War veterans hat. Linda held open the bags.
The vessel, their full-time home, is tied up in a marina.
“Not a good place to be up there,” he said.
The couple is riding out the storm with Douglas’s brother in Hernando Beach. High tide Wednesday afternoon, coupled with the 2-4 foot storm surge, could mean trouble for coastal residents.
What will they do when they get back to the Panhandle?
Douglas had the quip: “Pray the boat’s still there.”
-- Josh Solomon
As of now, he plans to ride it out at his house, which he said is about a block from the water. “That’s the only place I know to hunker down in,” Nixon said.— Zack Sampson (@ZackSampson) October 10, 2018
As they sat atop a picnic table at Hudson Beach, Jakota Dowdy and Nicole Moore were, well, kind of glum.The Hudson couple had come for exciting winds and water. Instead, they ended up flicking snacks to a colony of seagulls flitting along the rocks below them. Via @TB_Times: pic.twitter.com/Gt7K2nv045— Justin Trombly (@JustinTrombly) October 10, 2018
Just some glum storm-chasers
As they sat atop a picnic table at Hudson Beach, Jakota Dowdy and Nicole Moore were, well, kind of glum.
The Hudson couple had come in search of exciting winds and water. Instead, they ended up flicking snacks to a colony of seagulls flitting along the rocks below them.
See, the two are casual storm-chasers.
“We’re all about the hurricanes,” said Dowdy, 32. “Everybody is scared of it, and we’re trying to find it.”
He’s done this often; his partner, less so.
“Every time there’s a storm, I’m out in it,” he said. “Everybody’s going inside. I’m going outside.”
“It kind of excites me,” he said. “I like the danger of it, I guess.”
But as the 35-year-old Moore put it, there’s been “nothing” today.
She and her partner will stick with the birds — for now.
-- Justin Trombly
It’s early Wednesday, and all is quiet on Pine Island and Pasco County
By 7:30 a.m. Wednesday, the road closed sign was overkill.
The narrow two-lane outlet to Pine Island on Hernando County’s coast was free from any flooding. But the seawater that flanked both sides of the road lapped at the base of the pavement, a reminder that a few hours ago the Gulf of Mexico had overtaken the road. And likely would again during high tide later in the afternoon.
Clouds, blue with a pink sheen from sunrise, hustled over the soils of Pine Island, which are heavy with sea salt from floods past. The homeowners, amateur flood experts that they are, all park their cars along the sides of the island’s squat bridge
“It’s the highest point,” one man said before climbing into his Jeep.
Meanwhile, Pasco County spokeswoman Tambrey Laine said the county hasn’t seen any areas having problems after the overnight surge. Water levels were much lesser than they had expected, she said, and officials will be waiting to see what happens with the next high tide this afternoon. That’ll “tell us a lot,” she said.
-- Josh Solomon, Justin Trombly
.@NWS says Tampa Bay can expect Hurricane Michael to cause thundershowers, 35 mph wind gusts and an increased risk of isolated tornadoes. Here’s some shots of Tampa this morning with ominous skies in the background. Live @TB_Times coverage: https://t.co/G35VvcAjBl pic.twitter.com/hVUcany9da— Josh Fiallo (@ByJoshFiallo) October 10, 2018
I’m at Anclote River Park, at the mouth of the Anclote River north of Tarpon Springs. Storm surge was anticipated here overnight, but so far I’m not seeing any damage or flooding. Will be updating; follow @TB_Times for updates from the Bay and Panhandle pic.twitter.com/KUG1CBleue— Jack Evans (@JackHEvans) October 10, 2018
Only early puddles along the Anclote River
It was quiet Wednesday morning near the mouth of the Anclote River, the farthest point south under a storm surge warning.
Neighborhoods nearby showed signs of overnight rain and wind — an overturned trash can here, a downed branch there — but any flooding that may have come with the early morning high tide had left only puddles by mid-morning. The action remained that of a mundane Wednesday morning: short-shorted older men on walks, school buses blinking in the drizzle.
David McCrady, 61, rode his bike to Anclote River Park to check the water level. He lives down the street in a house a foot off the ground.
“Just wanted to make sure my place isn’t gonna be in the flooding,” he said.
Any overnight storm surge didn’t reach him, he said, and after seeing the water at what seemed to be a normal level, he wasn’t worried about this afternoon’s high tide either.
“Matter of fact,” he said casually, mounting his bike, “I’m gonna go home to have some breakfast right now.” And he rode off.
-- Jack Evans
St. Pete Beach residents eye high tide, street flooding
By Suhuana Hussain
A text message Tuesday sent Steve Hassen racing back to his home on W Maritana Drive.
When he got home at about 4 p.m., the water was already halfway up his driveway.
Hassen, 55, slowly navigated his own car, and then his wife’s car, through the shallow water and parked them on the driveway. Then he made sure to rinse off all the tires with fresh water.
"Idiots drive through the water all the time — they don’t know the salt water erodes your car," he said.
He’s lived here for three decades now, and says he knows how to deal with this kind of worrying weather.
Tuesday was a dry-run for what residents across Tampa Bay’s low-lying, flood-prone areas may have to deal with when Hurricane Michael strikes the Florida Panhandle on Wednesday afternoon.
The effects of offshore hurricane Michael showing up on Clearwater Beach.Posted by Tampa Bay Times on Tuesday, October 9, 2018