Hurricane Opal made landfall 22 years ago

PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Ask any long time Northwest Florida resident, and most of them will remember Hurricane Opal.

Opal briefly became a strong category four hurricane with 150 mph sustained winds in the middle of the Gulf before weakening to a still powerful category three 115 mph as it made landfall near Pensacola Beach early on October 4.

Here in Northwest Florida, we were on the eastern side of the storm, which packed a powerful punch.

Eight to 15 foot storm surge destroyed homes, businesses, and infrastructure up and down the Gulf Coast. A lot of landmarks were damaged during Hurricane Opal, including the beach itself.

According to the National Weather Service, there were 9 fatalities reported in the mainland United States, including one in Crestview due to an F2 tornado.

With a storm currently (October 2017) in the Caribbean, stay tuned to the Vipir Weather Team for the latest forecast through early next week as it heads into the Gulf.