Celebrity meteorologist Jim Cantore was nearly impaled by what appeared to be a flying piece of wood while broadcasting about Hurricane Michael from Panama City Beach, Fla., Wednesday.
Cantore was live shortly before 1 p.m., standing outside in heavy, whipping winds. Hurricane Michael had just breached land as an extremely dangerous Category 4 storm.
“It’s relentless! I mean ...” Cantore says in the video before suddenly going quiet and ducking to the right as a gust roars. Moment later, what appears to be a 2X4 piece of wood shoots through the air almost exactly where he had been standing before it disappears under a barrier.
Cantore runs toward the camera, covering his head, and turns to look toward where the wood landed.
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“Hold on guys!” he says from off-camera. “Just give me a second here.”
He calls for a helmet, and takes one from a crew member. “Welcome to live television,” he says, then returns to the broadcast.
Over the years, Jim Cantore has achieved viral fame (and infamy) for chasing extreme storms. Some officials joke that when Cantore shows up on their streets, it’s time to get serious about the danger.
Social media users were quick to share the video and comment on Cantore’s near-miss. One person even made a Twiter account for “Jim Cantore’s Helmet.”
Hurricane Michael made landfall along the Gulf Coast of Florida Wednesday as a potentially catastrophic Category 4 storm with winds of 155 mph.
Michael began lashing Georgia Wednesday evening before weakening to a Category 1 storm between 7 p.m. and 8 p.m. It could still bring “unprecedented” wind damage, the National Weather Service said, along with tornadoes and heavy rain.
Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal declared a state of emergency for 108 of the state’s 159 counties, including Muscogee, Chattahoochee, Talbot, Marion, Stewart, Sumter, Taylor, Schley, Quitman and Webster south and east of Columbus. Harris and Troup counties north of Columbus are not part of the state of emergency. Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey also declared a statewide emergency in her state.
Hurricane Michael is expected to move across Georgia overnight and into Thursday morning, crossing the central area of the state and blasting Warner Robins and Augusta before moving to the Carolinas.
By Thursday at 1 p.m., the storm will be hovering between the borders of South and North Carolina, unless the direction or speed of the hurricane changes significantly.