Sunday Marked 37 Year Anniversary of Hurricane Eloise

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Panama City Beach- It was in the fall of 1975 right in the middle of hurricane season. A storm by the name of Eloise was churning in the Gulf gaining strength as it made its way toward the Panhandle. Landfall would come in the early morning hours of September 23rd.

A young Joe Moore had been with NewsChannel 7 for just four years when the category three storm struck Panama City Beach with full force.

"That is the most scared I think I'd been at that point in my life," said Moore.

After the storm finally passed over Moore said he witnessed utter devastation.

"The National Guard came right in, sealed off the entire area," Moore said.

Winds reportedly as high as 155 miles per hour ripped apart buildings and tore down power lines almost effortlessly.

"It was picking up cars. The tower at the television station would bend way over. I was surprised it didn't snap or collapse," said Moore.

Moore said it's as if a bomb had gone off and Panama City Beach was ground zero.

"I couldn't believe it. I had seen it on t.v. from other markets, but to actually live through it, no way," said Moore.

And if it wasn't the high winds, it was water that wiped away dozens homes and businesses. On the coast, monster storm surge was said to be as high as 15 feet in some areas. Inland, Eloise dumped more than two feet of rain.

"Panama City Beach looked like Homstead did after Hurricane Andrew,"Moore said.

When all was said and done, hundreds of businesses were completely destroyed, and thousands of people suffered some sort of storm related loss.Damage esitmates were around a billion dollars. Loss of life was miraculously low. Four people died from Hurricane Eloise.

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