A look back at 2 hurricanes that devastated the Florida Panhandle

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Dear Tom,
I remember a big hurricane hitting Destin in the western Florida Panhandle in the mid-1990s, shortly after my parents bought a home there. Details?
— Patty Kulpins, Arlington Heights
Dear Patty,
The year was 1995, and the Destin area on Florida’s Emerald Coast was hit by two hurricanes. The first storm, Hurricane Erin, battered the area on Aug. 3, making landfall as a Category 2 storm with 100 mph winds. Significant damage occurred near Navarre Beach. However, two months later, a second, more powerful storm, Hurricane Opal, slammed into the area Oct. 4 as a Category 3 storm with 115 mph winds. Much of the storm’s devastation was the result of a 10-to-15-foot storm surge that damaged or destroyed thousands of homes and boats. Major wind damage also occurred in addition to major flooding, the result of up to 15 inches of rain.