Hurricane Michael made landfall between Panama City and Mexico Beach, Florida on October 10, 2018 with sustained winds of 155-mph. This made Michael the strongest storm to ever hit the Florida Panhandle and one of the strongest to ever hit the United States. Bay, Gulf, Calhoun, Jackson, Gadsden, Leon, Holmes and Washington counties all sustained massive devastation. All of the residence in Jackson County were without power for a two or three day period. We are on our 7th day with no power.
Michael was a strong Category 3 storm by the time it made it to our area (about 65-miles north of the gulf). The eye of Michael passed over our farm at about 4:00 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 10th and the winds calmed and the sky turned into a light gray. Roughly fifteen minutes of calm was followed by extreme strong wind in the opposite direction as the wind from before.
I’ve lived in Florida all my life experiencing first hand Hurricane Opal and Ivan, but nothing was like Hurricane Michael.
Extreme strong wind! Hundreds, perhaps thousands of trees were uprooted, broken like twigs and splintered in a matter of hours. Two-hundred year old Live Oak trees snatched from the ground as if they had never been there. Over a mile of fences destroyed by falling trees and debris. Roads impassable. Roofs torn from homes (including ours), windows broken and cars destroyed. Michael was no respecter of persons or property. The power from the winds was unrelenting.
All of our hardwork and effort was literally ripped from the earth in about six hours. The corn and sunn hemp maze was destroyed completely by the winds. Ears of corn were torn from stalks and the sunn hemp leaves were striped from the stem of the plant. Some of the plants looked as if they had been tied into knots.
We had planned to use the maze as a ‘dual purpose’ crop. A corn maze for visitors to enjoy the farm and a source of feed for our animals. Feed that is grown on the farm, processed on the farm and fed on the farm! However, Michael came with nearly 11-inches of rain and the corn and sunn hemp that remains has become molded and spoiled; making it unusable for feed for our animals.
The restoration of the farm will take time. Many of the trees we lost were at least 50-years old, so there is no ‘quick fix’ for these treasures lost. Fences are nearly rebuilt and we will continue working day by day to get those completed. Financial recovery will also take time; the maze was no small investment! Emotional recovery will also happen over time.
Through all of this, we have realized that God sends the right people, right on time. A list too lengthy to mention here, but so many of our friends and family have helped us move limbs, build fence, restore the flow of water to our well, worked on generators and tractors – the list goes on and on. We’re thankful to each one that has come to our aid. This trial will soon pass.