With bread in hand, Mr. Perryman and Ms. Long, 32, were headed back home. It was near a bayou, he said, and they feared that the waterway would overtop with the big storm surge coming. But they were still on the fence about leaving. The plan was to keep waiting and watching the news. If by Wednesday morning it still looked like it was going to slam straight into Panama City, then maybe they, too, would head to Dothan, where they have family they could bunk with for a while.
As he waited to buy a 20-pound ice bag, Mike Sanville, 64, puffed on a cigarette and said that he was also going to try to ride the storm out in Fountain, in the small house he shares with two other men. He was expecting the town to get punched hard. “It’s coming right at us,” he said. “We’re dead center.”
Mr. Sanville, a retired construction worker, said he worried that the roof would blow off his house as the winds picked up Tuesday night. If that happened, he said, he might ride out the rest of the storm in an outhouse he built out back. He said that it had survived a blow from a falling tree a few years ago.
“I built it super strong,” he said.
But would all three residents fit in an outhouse? Maybe, he said. No question it would be a tight fit.
“We’re survivors,” his housemate, Paul Hassenplug, chimed in.
“Yeah, we know how to eat dog if we have to,” Mr. Sanville said with a chuckle, and soon the men were roaring off down the road in their truck.
Storm looks normal, and that’s still dangerous
The most interesting thing about Hurricane Michael, from a meteorological perspective, may be how normal it is. After deeply destructive hurricanes like Florence and last year’s Harvey, which dawdled over land and dumped disastrous amounts of rain, Michael is moving along at 12 to 15 miles per hour, “which is almost exactly average for storms,” said Brian McNoldy, a senior research associate at the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science.
The storm formed in the Western Caribbean and moved north, which is normal for this time of year, and is hitting in October, which is well before the close of hurricane season at the end of November. Hurricane Michael has moved along a path well predicted by the computer models without surprises so far. “It’s a very well behaved storm,” he said.