On Wednesday morning, a Waffle House spokesman had announced that 30 restaurants in Florida and Georgia were closed in preparation for Hurricane Michael, including locations along the Florida Panhandle from Panama City to Destin.
Damage in Panama City, just west of where Michael came ashore Wednesday afternoon, was so extensive that broken and uprooted trees and downed power lines lay almost everywhere.
This is preferred by Klotzbach, who explains that it is more precise for historical comparisons because it is measured precisely by an airplane flying in the middle of the storm's eye, whereas "wind is going to be different everywhere along the hurricane".
What is the death toll?
But after the storm passed, she emerged to check on the cafe she manages and discovered a scene of breathtaking destruction. Storm surge is worse now than it was 100 years ago, thanks to the rise in sea levels.
In Panama City, most homes were still standing, but no property was left undamaged. It trapped the resident, said Gadsden County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Anglie Hightower, and downed power lines and blocked roads made it hard for emergency crews to get to him.
After slamming Florida and lashing Georgia, Michael is far from finished as it swirls northeast, threatening the storm-weary Carolinas.
One person was killed by a falling tree, Florida officials say. This is a storm with unprecedented wind speeds hitting the Florida Panhandle, coming on top of Hurricane Florence with another six weeks of hurricane season left. Many people will not be able to return to their homes.
In any case, no matter how you measure it, Michael is among the most powerful hurricanes in recent memory along with Camille in 1969, Andrew in 1992 and Katrina in 2005.
Accuweather warned those along the path of the storm from northern Florida to southeastern Virginia should expect downed trees and power outages. "Insurers with the largest market shares in USA states to be hit by Hurricane Michael have considerable exposures, but these are manageable given each company's overall policyholder surplus".
The storm will go down in history as the third strongest to hit the United States mainland in recorded history after making landfall Wednesday as a Category 4 colossus with sustained winds of 155 miles per hour - just 2 miles per hour short of iconic Category 5 status.
Hours earlier, meteorologists watched satellite imagery in complete awe as the storm intensified. "The historical record, going back to 1851, finds no Category 4 hurricane ever hitting the Florida panhandle".
Rapid intensification means that a storm has found itself in an ideal environment - one usually characterized by warm waters and little adverse wind shear. She was safe until a carport came crashing through the roof. But without extensive study, they can not directly link a single weather event to the changing climate.
Kaylee O'Brien weeps inside her home after several trees fell on it on Wednesday. "She was 11 years old, but she liked to have fun like a 5-year-old". "When the doors to the church were open she would want to be there", Radney said.