Changing the Coastline: Direct Hit Apalachee Bay

Now new satellite photos from Katrina's damage are showing that destruction can extend far inland.

Jaw-dropping damage is how one may describe the virtual obliteration of the Mississippi and Louisiana coasts after Katrina's unwanted visit. Florida's assistant meteorologist Justin Balbierer knows something similar could happen here.

Justin says, "Well, the storm surge flooding that occurred in Mississippi, actually, if you were to get a major hurricane like that that would move into the Florida panhandle, you could see a very similar situation."

Think it can't happen here? Think again. A storm of category four or five intensity would send a storm surge through Wakulla County and possibly to Leon County.

Florida's state meteorologist Ben Nelson says that unlike New Orleans, the surge would eventually retreat.

Ben was asked, "So, essentially there would be new beach front property to the Leon County line if a worst case scenario unfolds?

Ben responded, "That's possible. Of course, it won't be a New Orleans situation. The waters will eventually recede.”

The day when the "big one" arrives is the day that Rob Nucatola hopes that these inland surge areas will also be ready to take action without panic.

Rob Nucatola, WCTV’s morning meteorologist, says, "It's a situation where I hope people would turn to us and be ready to do what we said, because at this point if something like that were to be coming, I'd rather everyone leave and not have needed to rather than people saying they're not worried and getting hit instead, and being a much bigger problem than it could have been."

With gradually improving hurricane forecasts, no one should be caught off guard. The extremely busy 2005 hurricane season finally draws to a close next Wednesday, November 30.