Hurricane Opal made landfall near Pensacola Beach, Florida as a marginal category 3 hurricane on October 4. Florida's immediate coastal areas suffered extensive damage from the storm surge. Estimates of the surge elevation ranged from 5-14 feet above mean sea level. Rainfall totals generally ranged from 5-10 inches over portions of the Florida panhandle, Alabama and Georgia. The greatest rainfall totals of 8-9 inches, however, were recorded in the mountains of North Carolina. The death toll from Opal was 59. Fortunately, Opal had weakened from a category 4 storm at the time of landfall. Opal may now be ranked higher than the fourth costliest U.S. hurricane with $3 billion in damage.
Large changes in turbidity are evident in the after and difference images. The highest turbidity is concentrated to the right of the hurricane track in the area around Cape St. George, Florida. This is likely due to stronger hurricane force winds in this area as well as wave convergence properties of the capes and points. Although not present in the images, the regions of high turbidity are generally found inshore of the 200 meter shelf break with the break being wider to the right of the hurricane track than to the left. This suggests that the resuspended bottom sediments compose a large part of the overall turbidity signal.
The after SST image depicts large areas of cooling especially to the right of the hurricane track where the strongest winds are expected. The difference image indicates that the changes were as large as 8 °C. A cool area is also found just offshore of the Mississippi Delta. The mechanism for this region wide cooling is probably sea surface surface heat loss induced by the hurricane.