Editor's note: Correspondent Kerry Sanders will profile National Hurricane Center Director Max Mayfield on tonight's broadcast. Today is Mayfield's last day on the job after 34 years. We asked Kerry to share a personal story with blog readers.
I've known Max for a long long time. I began covering hurricanes in 1982. While Max was always feeding me information of what would likely happen and how unsafe areas could become, you know how we as reporters tend to head into the thick of the storm. I will remember Hurricane Ivan in Sept. 2004 the most.
I freely admit that I foolishly decided to ride out Ivan in a home built to withstand a hurricane. It was a "dome home," called that because it was shaped like a dome.
Max warned me it was a very dangerous move to ride out a category four on Pensacola Beach. He recently remembered, as we chatted about his retirement, that I had been in the "dome home" and lived to talk about it. Max's advice sticks with me. He said: "Kerry, don't ever do that again."
I can say, after riding out that storm, watching the cars wash away into the bay, that I will never do that again.
I will miss Max, and owe him a personal thank you for guiding me to safe spots to cover all those hurricanes.