When the steep-walled eye of Hurricane Michael passed over Stefan Melendez Wednesday afternoon, he stepped into the temporarily tranquil Florida environment and saw blue skies above.
Melendez captured the footage during a Facebook Live video, soon after Category 4 Hurricane Michael — packing 155 mph winds — became the third-strongest cyclone to make landfall in U.S. history.
The storm is now the most powerful hurricane on record to strike the Florida Panhandle.
But in the eye, all was calm.
“Blue skies, right in the eye,” marveled Melendez.
We’ve reached out to Melendez, who appears to have driven out to the Florida Panhandle to chase the storm, and will update this story upon hearing back.
On Tuesday, storm scientists predicted that Hurricane Michael would continue gaining strength as the cyclone approached the coast.
They turned out to be correct, as warm ocean waters and a lack of wind shear — which are powerful opposing winds that can topple hurricanes — set the stage for the storm’s intensification.
Some 20 hours after making landfall, Michael still poses flash flooding threats to parts of Georgia, the Carolinas, and southeastern Virginia. Its strongest winds, while diminished, will still hit between 50 to 65 mph over the next few days.