Former U.P. residents’ Florida home was in category 4 hurricane’s path


The First Baptist Church of Port St. Joe, Florida, sustained severe damage during Hurricane Michael when the storm struck the community Oct. 18 last year. (Photo courtesy of Nina Kaufman)


Story and photo by 8-18 Media
In the Upper Peninsula of Michigan when we think of a big storm we think of below zero windchills, blowing snow and icy roads.  Traveling during a winter storm can be dangerous and sometimes there are power outages, but usually, within a day or two after the storm, it’s business as usual. Two former U.P. residents, Dennis Whitley and his daughter Lane Whitley, moved to Florida four years ago and this past October experienced a storm of a different kind.
They live in Port St. Joe, Florida, and found themselves in the direct path of Hurricane Michael. Hurricane Michael, a category 4 storm that hit the panhandle of Florida on Oct. 10. It was the strongest storm on record to hit the Florida panhandle and, according to an article published by the Panama City News Herald, a report due out in April will determine if it was officially a category 5 storm. 8-18 Media talked to both Dennis and Lane about their experience and how the storm affected their lives.

How much-advanced warning was there that you would be in the path of Hurricane Michael and that you would need to evacuate?
Dennis: We had a fair amount of warning. We could tell. I could tell it was coming right over us, I didn’t care if it was category 2, 3, or 5, I wanted to go just because I was just looking at the track of it and the projected path, all of the models that you look at, all of them were agreeing it was going to come right over us. We evacuated fairly early. We went to Perry Florida, which I knew was going to be far enough east to get out of it…

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