On Sep 23, 1975 Hurricane Eloise scored the first direct hit by a major hurricane in the Fort Walton Beach – Panama City area in the 20th century. 125 mph sustained winds (955 mb pressure) were recorded at landfall with a 155 mph gust at Panama City (twenty years later, Cat 3 Opal had 115 mph sustained winds at landfall in a similar area).
Tides were recorded 12 to 16 feet above normal. Heavy rain was confined to near the center of the fast moving hurricane, but considerable beach erosion occurred. No deaths in Florida or Alabama directly resulted from Eloise, although two heart attack deaths were recorded.
As Eloise roared north during the day Sep 23, severe winds created damage through most of southeast Alabama.
Several people were injured in Geneva county; a 100 mph wind gust was recorded northeast of Ozark; a tornado in Pike county ripped up numerous pecan trees; another tornado near Auburn littered nearby I-85 with dozens of trees; and several outages of power were reported in southeast Alabama.
As Eloise interacted later with a stationary front in the mid Atlantic states, major flooding resulted with loss of life.