Hurricane Michael made landfall on the Florida Panhandle earlier today (Oct. 10). It arrived as a Category 4 storm, a stunning development given that it was upgraded to a Category 2 only yesterday. With winds reaching around 150 mph (240 km per hour), the hurricane generated weather dangerous enough to force the closure of 18 Waffle Houses, the ubiquitous restaurant chain that’s often one of the few places to stay open during the worst weather scenarios. The National Weather Service described the storm as a “worst case scenario.”
Photos from the morning before landfall and the earliest hours after the storm’s arrival underscore why this is a storm to fear. Images show massive waves lapping up against piers and beachfront homes, structures collapsing, and early flooding that is a precursor to a possible 14 ft (4.25 meters) of expected storm surge.