Skip to comments.My Weekend Trip to Panama City, FL
Posted on 10/15/2018 8:33:46 AM PDT by Red Badger
Saturday morning my wife and I took off from Fort Walton Beach on our motorcycles to go to Panama City and check on my sister and her family and my wife's cousin and her family.
We had not heard much info from either of them since Wednesday, when Hurricane Michael hit, just that they were 'safe' and everybody was alive, thanks be to God Almighty.
On the way, down Highway 98, we saw convoys of people, possibly church groups, in pick-ups full of bottled water and other such necessities.
We saw many, many work trucks for tree services from as far away as Missouri and Oklahoma and Texas.
We saw convoys of electrical power personnel from every state within a thousand miles.
As we approached Panama City from the west, we didn't see much damage going through Walton County and entering Bay County, just the usual signage and a few trees blown down, pointing to the South, since the winds would have been coming from the North at landfall.
We arrived at my sister's home in Laguna Beach, just west of Panama City Beach, about 10:30 AM. For those of you who aren't familiar with the area, Panama City and Panama City Beach are two separate cities on the Gulf coast, with Panama City Beach being the most westerly.
We found her and her family safe and well and they had electricity! They had gone to a shelter school on Tuesday evening about 7 pm when it looked as though Michael was going to hit PC Beach.
Laguna Beach had minimal damages and life there was near normal, except for the long lines at the gas stations and convenience stores.
As we drove into Bay County from Walton County, there were lots of people sitting on the sides of the road in their cars. This puzzled me at first, but I soon realized that they had driven there that far just to get a cell connection!
We left there about and hour later to travel across Panama City Beach, Panama City and finally arrive at Lynn Haven where my wife's cousin lived.
A distance of about 10-15 miles that would normally take about 20-25 minutes took almost two hours!
Power lines down on every street and avenue. Trees down, snapped off like tooth picks at 15 feet, like someone took a chainsaw and cut them all down. Many of the trees were over a foot in diameter! All pointing to the same direction like ghastly fingers pointing to the source of their death.
Every building had some kind of damage. Stores that weren't shuttered had windows blown in. Cars were damaged from debris and had broken windshields and side windows and dents on all sides.
Traffic was stop and go on all the main arteries, because of non functioning traffic lights and no police direction.
My wife's cousin's home was in a really hard hit area, being almost due north of Tyndall, where her husband works.
We had to snake our way through downed power lines and tree trunks to get to her street. They had trees through their roof and across the yard and into the street.
All their neighbors were out trying to help everybody else and came over to see us when we drove up to get any info from the outside world, since they had no TV, radio, cell service or Internet since Wednesday. The Power Company told them they might not get power back for 2 months! The entire infrastructure is gone.
Anything you see on TV that shows damages is nothing compared to seeing it right in front of you. 360° of damage, almost incomprehensible. Every direction, for as far as you can see there is damage. Trees, power lines, signs, roofs, cars.... nothing was left untouched.
Panama City and the surrounding areas will take months and months to ever return to anything near normal.
Good report, bump.
I really expect Tyndall will end up being closed like Homestead was.
I would think riding a scooter through all that mess would be a little risky my friend. Glad your ok.
Thanks for the report, RB. Glad your family is OK!
It was tricky, to say the least. My worst fear was the oil from BUSTED TRANSFORMERS on the road......................
I hope they keep Tyndall open...................
Wow, thank you for that first-hand report. I was stationed at Tyndall for 4 years, lived in various towns like Lynn Haven, Parker, Calloway, and of course hung out in PCB and the various resorts around it. I just remember that awful paper mill smell depending on which way the wind was blowing. When I lived there it was the poorest county in Florida. Not much there other than the base, the paper mill and Spring Breakers. Good times at Miracle Strip amusement part and Shipwreck Island.
Thank you for this post. Stay safe!
Thank you for the detailed report. Prayers up for those affected to have steady progress toward “normal” soon.
My conclusion after Hurricane Elena was that if you work in hurricane prone areas you should commute from thirty-five miles inland to avoid the worst of the damage. Or live in a reiforced fortress of a building (which I did during Elena.)
My daughter was there evacuating nursing homes. She lives in Orlando. Drives EMT.
She said same things. Pictures dont do it justice.
My church is in the planning and gathering stages of sending supplies over right now. Chances are I’ll be making a trip or two over there in the near future.
For those who have not heard, Gov. Rick Scott is doing this:
Thanks for the report. Two months without power? In Florida? Wow. Then damage was far worse than I feared. I spent “just” 40 days without power after Hurricane María last year.
Did anyone see the Clinton Foundation Trucks? I bet if they did, they would be carrying ballots to fill out. s/
Our President loves the military, that may make a difference.
thanks for having us Frs in mind and typing a great report. I looked up the area on line and saw NOAA maps of damaged areas too. Glad you and all family safe, hope ones most effected can continue to get thru the now of it and onto rebuilding their home and lives. Stay safe.
Meanwhile, Senator Nelson (D) running for reelection is fundraising off of this disaster..................
We did see Marine Helicopters fly over, I assume they were preparing for President Trump’s flyover today......................
My wife’s cousin, and RN, works for a nursing Home.
Their neighbor on the backside is a RN as well and she woks at the Panama City hospital.
She was given 90 days off with pay, since the hospital is so damaged that it will take that long, at least, to get it repaired............
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