KSL traffic reporter weathering Hurricane Michael

Oct 10, 2018, 12:41 PM
Hurricane Michael...
An unidentified person takes pictures of the surf and fishing pier on Okaloosa Island in Fort Walton Beach, Fla., on Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018, as Hurricane Michael approaches the Florida Gulf Coast. [Devon Ravine/Northwest Florida Daily News via AP)

PANAMA CITY, Florida — A KSL Newsradio traffic reporter is riding out Hurricane Michael with family members in Florida, a decision he now says he regrets.

Hurricane Michael

A beachgoer take photos of the waves on Wednesday Oct. 10, 2018, on Okaloosa Island in Fort Walton Beach, Fla., behind the boardwalk as Hurricane Michael impacts the coast. (Nick Tomecek/Northwest Florida Daily News via AP)

Jerod Auger has family in the area, and had planned his trip several months ago. Hurricane season typically ends September 30, so Auger and his family thought an October trip would be safe.

“The attitude’s changed,” Auger said. “Everyone in the family that’s grown up here in Florida, they were all kind of giggly and laughing yesterday and the day before, and all of the sudden, today, it got thrown into Category 4 status and everyone had kind of a straight face this morning.”

Auger says the 150+ mph winds cracked the skylights in his family’s home, and blew trees onto his family’s house and several houses and structures nearby.

“The rain is just coming down like cats and dogs,” Auger says. “I keep going out to the street to check the two major storm drains, just to make sure no debris is covering it, to keep that thing flowing, to keep emptying the street.”

Auger said his family was hunkered down in bathrooms under mattresses to protect themselves as the storm made landfall.

Hurricane Michael made landfall Wednesday near Mexico Beach, Florida, about 20 miles southeast of Panama City. At the time, the maximum sustained winds were 155 mph, which is just shy of Category 5 status. Those winds make it the strongest hurricane to ever hit the Florida Panhandle.

The Associated Press reported the barometric pressure inside the storm makes Michael the most powerful hurricane to strike the U.S. mainland since 1969’s Camille. Based on wind speed, Michael would be the fourth-strongest to hit the mainland, behind 1992’s Andrew, Camille and an unnamed 1935 Labor Day storm that had sustained winds of 184 mph.

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KSL traffic reporter weathering Hurricane Michael