A photo of Veterans Park in Callaway, Florida, after Hurricane Michael. The storm toppled an F-15 displayed at the park. Photo via Justin Kiefer.
Two days before Hurricane Michael hit Panama City, Florida, Justin Kiefer’s wife and their two sons headed for Nashville, Tennessee. Kiefer, who was chief meteorologist for Panama City station WMBB-TV, stayed to cover the storm. He and his family had weathered minor hurricanes and tropical storms during his career, but Hurricane Michael was different. The hurricane, which headed directly for Panama City in October 2018, became one of the strongest storms to hit the continental US.
“The level of intensity between a Category One and a Category Four, eventually a [Category] Five hurricane, is astronomical,” Kiefer says. “All the storms that I had to work with over the years never came into our television market like Michael did.”
After the storm ended, Kiefer’s family could not resume life as usual in a devastated Panama City. Area schools, including the high school where his youngest son was completing his junior year, suffered damage. His oldest son’s junior college was also temporarily closed because of hurricane damage.
“That kind of tipped the domino,” Kiefer says. In the weeks following the storm, his youngest son enrolled in a Tennessee high school. His wife took a teaching job in the same district. His oldest son got a job in Nashville. “All of the sudden, they’re relocated instead of evacuated,” he
Read more here: https://www.cjr.org/united_states_project/hurricane-destruction-newsrooms-staff.php