A Florida man who stayed behind to weather out Hurricane Michael has a plan in case he doesn’t survive.
Randy Simmons, 57, spent Wednesday morning checking on his condo overlooking Panama City Beach. As he sipped on coffee on his home’s deck, he told the Miami Herald he decided to go to another place he owns a few miles inland once Michael became a dangerous Category 4 storm.
“I was going to stay here until it got to a Category 4,” Simmons told the newspaper. “This is going to be a big mess. You just never [know] what’s going to happen in these situations. People do die.”
Simmons said he decided to scrawl his name across his forearm in thick, black letters in case he didn’t survive.
Michael crashed into the Florida PanhandleWednesday afternoon with maximum sustained winds of 155 mph — making it the most powerful storm on record to strike the region.
Even as it approached Wednesday, heavy waves pounded the shoreline in Panama City Beach, causing at least one building under construction to buckle and collapse.
By Wednesday afternoon, Hurricane Michael was about 20 miles southeast of Panama City, and traveling north-northeast at 14 mph.
Timothy Thomas, who rode out the storm with his wife in their second-floor apartment in Panama City Beach, told The Associated Press, “We’re catching some hell.”
He said he could see broken street signs and a 90-foot pine bent at a 45-degree angle.
In Panama City, plywood and metal flew off the front of a Holiday Inn Express. Part of the awning fell and shattered the glass front door of the hotel, and the rest of the awning would up on vehicles parked below. The hotel’s swimming pool had whitecaps as the roar of the hurricane sounded like an airplane taking off.
Fox News’ Travis Fedschun and The Associated Press contributed to this report.