TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTVY) One year ago, Hurricane Michael devastated parts of the Florida panhandle, southeastern Alabama, and southwestern Georgia. That area is the heart of the forecast area for the National Weather Service office in Tallahassee, Florida.
Everyone in the office had eyes on Michael as it made landfall near Mexico Beach and moved across Alabama and Georgia.
Communications were cut as the storm made landfall. The National Weather Service office in Jacksonville covered while the office in Tallahassee all but went dark.
"While we put the initial extreme wind warnings out for landfall, Jacksonville continued them up into Georgia and I believe even Houston County," Meteorologist Mark Wool said .
Justin Pullin, also a meteorologist, endured the brunt of Hurricane Michael from the Bay County Emergency Operations Center in Panama City.
"When you're actually in the storm, it's a bit unnerving," Pullin said about what it was like after losing communications. "It's really easy to lose situational awareness."
A year later, meteorologists at the National Weather Service office are looking at lessons they learned.
The two biggest takeaways---preparation and messaging.
Hurricane Michael's historic intensity stressed the importance of being prepared.
Having an emergency kit ready before hurricane season begins on June 1 makes for less scrambling when a storm threatens.
They also realized that the general rule-of-thumb of three days of supplies is not enough.
The NWS Tallahassee office realized the value of Facebook Live to get information to the public.