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June hurricanes and tropical storms have happened in the Big Bend, and can happen again

Posted at 6:44 PM, Jun 09, 2024
  • While June is the first month of hurricane season, hurricanes and tropical storms are harder to come by than they are later in the summer.
  • 1972 was the last June hurricane impact in the Big Bend, where storm surge had significant impacts in Franklin and Wakulla counties.
  • Jack Rudloe experienced Agnes in Panacea, which destroyed his home, and resulted in the construction of the house he still lives in to this day.

BROADCAST TRANSCRIPT:
Hurricane Agnes was a June storm that decimated the Panacea neighborhood back in 1972.

I’m First To Know Meteorologist Riley Winch in the Panacea neighborhood where June storms have happened and can happen again.

Hermine in 2016.

Michael in 2018.

Idalia just last year.

All hurricanes that have impacted the Big Bend area.

But none of them made landfall in June.

History shows it *can happen, though.

On June 19, 1972, Hurricane Agnes made landfall near Cape San Blas, Florida.

That's just over 80 miles from Tallahassee.

Impacts were felt far beyond the center of the storm.

SOT: “The hurricane came along and went smash!”

Jack Rudloe was here for the storm.

He's President and Founder of the Gulf Specimen Marine Lab and Aquarium in Panacea.

During the storm, his dock was "lifted up in its great big entirety and got hurled up into the marsh and broken into pieces and the floating docks that we had were all scattered all over town"

I checked the weather records.

As much as 6 feet of storm surge flooded the Wakulla County coast.

Rudloe's trailer was caught up in the surge.

He told me what it was like to see water...

“Washing through the walls and the whole thing was all smashed up. Completely destroyed and unusable.”

But that hurricane provided opportunity.

With disaster assistance, Jack and his wife were able to rebuild their home, which now sits down the street from where the RV was, right on the Gulf.

“This house was built right after Agnes? Yes, exactly.”

"Well it won’t take a direct hit from a strong hurricane to cause more problems for homes like this on our Nature Coast."

Back in Hurricane Michael...

“We had the front steps swept off, we had water underneath it, it destroyed basically the air conditioning.”

So what is the likelihood of a hurricane or tropical storm impacting the Big Bend in June?

Well the last hurricane to impact the Big Bend in June was Agnes back in 1972, however since 2000, we’ve seen a couple tropical storms pass by the region, most notably Tropical Storm Debby back in 2012. Debby brought heavy, flooding rainfall to parts of the area, but also kicked up some surf along the Nature Coast.

Regardless of the time of year, Rudloe offers this advice: “Believe me, when they say a hurricane is coming we get the heck out of there quick.”

Here in the Panacea neighborhood in Wakulla County, I’m Meteorologist Riley Winch, ABC 27.