Hurricane Michael - The Aftermath

October 26, 2018  •  Leave a Comment

Things have been so busy during the last year that I've taken a break from blogging. However, I need to share some of the photos we've taken over the last couple of weeks in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael. First of all, our home in the west end of Panama City Beach fared extremely well. Some of our neighbors lost siding, there's tree damage, we were without power for several days, under a boil water notice until recently, and cable/internet has only been back online for a few days (it's still sporadic and glitchy). There is currently a curfew in place, but it's midnight - 5 a.m., so not really a big deal. Cells phones have been our only means of communication, and if you had Verizon, you were/are screwed. All in all, the west end of Panama City Beach weathered the storm well.

However, this has not been the case for our friends and family who live to the east of us in Panama City. Our daughter Rhiannon, her partner Clinton, and their baby Noah, evacuated with us from their home in Panama City, and they will not be returning to it. Friends have lost everything. I mean absolutely everything. The devastation is widespread. There's not a street in Panama City which is untouched. The infrastructure of the city is shot, and we look around and wonder how will all of this be rebuilt? Power is still out in many areas, the city is under a boil water notice (if you saw the water, you wouldn't consider drinking it), the curfew is dusk til dawn, debris is piling up everywhere. It's so incredibly heartbreaking to see the minutia of a life, piled up on the curb, waiting to go to the dump. Chainsaws and generators are an ever present background noise. It rained yesterday, and many of our friends found out just how well, and in some cases - how badly, the blue tarps on their homes are working.

Destruction along Beach Drive in Panama CityFeeding the Gulf Coast are committed to providing relief to the communities impacted by Hurricane Michael as they rebuild their lives. https://feedingthegulfcoast.org/

Destruction along Beach Drive in Panama City. Feeding the Gulf Coast are committed to providing relief to the communities impacted by Hurricane Michael as they rebuild their lives. feedingthegulfcoast.org
 

One of the biggest issues families are facing is housing. We already have very little rental inventory available, and what exists is generally expensive. The apartment complex where Rhiannon lived until May has gone from $1100 per month for a two bedroom apartment to $1250 overnight. Families are having to make the decision of whether to stay and try to survive the rebuilding process, or move on to other parts of the country. For our little family, this has been a very real and painful debate. I expect my 30A clients will see some of the effects of this migration away from the area when they come for their next visit. Those cute guys who work beach service, that sweet bartender you love at Cuvee, the funny waitress at the Donut Hole? They live in Panama City or Panama City Beach. Chances are, even if they didn't lose their home, their rent just shot up, so tip them well. And please be patient, because staffing will become a very real issue for the businesses along 30A who pay minimum wage, as there will be no where affordable for those in the service industry to live.

As we've traveled back and forth between our house and Rhiannon's little cottage in town to retrieve their belongings, I've filmed and photographed our journey. We try to make our trips into town as quick as possible. Many traffic lights are still out, and the roads are clogged with people in town helping with the recovery and emergency vehicles. Additionally, road signs and landmarks are missing making navigation complicated. There is still so much debris in the road, flat tires are commonplace.

Anyway, just writing all this out is stressful and exhausting, so here are some the images to tell the story better than my words ever will. 

The sailboats in Massalina Bayou reminding us things are far from normal post Hurricane Michael.Massalina Bayou Sailboats post Hurricane MichaelThe sailboats in Massalina Bayou reminding us things are far from normal post Hurricane Michael. The sailboats in Massalina Bayou reminding us things are far from normal post Hurricane Michael. Panama City, Florida Day 6 Post Hurricane Michael. Panama City, Florida Day 6 Post Hurricane Michael. All of Panama City looks something like this. Generally, huge piles of debris. Utility lines down. People just trying to move forward with their lives. Panama City, Florida Day 6 Post Hurricane Michael. All of Panama City looks something like this. Generally, huge piles of debris. Utility lines down. People just trying to move forward with their lives.
Jinks Middle School, Panama City, Florida post Hurricane MichaelJinks Middle School, Panama City, Florida post Hurricane MichaelOur daughter cheered throughout middle school, so we've sat in that gym many times. It is so hard to imagine how powerful the storm had to be to do that kind of damage. Jinks Middle School in Panama City. Our daughter cheered throughout middle school, so we've sat in that gym many times. It is so hard to imagine how powerful the storm had to be to do this kind of damage.
Saint Andrew United Methodist Church in Panama City, Florida post Hurricane Michael.This is our new normal. Although the church looks like it's been hit by a bomb, Saint Andrew United Methodist Church members continue to hand out food, water and other necessities to the community post Hurricane Michael.  This is our new normal. Although the church looks like it's been hit by a bomb, Saint Andrew United Methodist Church members continue to hand out food, water and other necessities to the community post Hurricane Michael. 


Comments

No comments posted.
Loading...

Archive
January February March April (5) May June (3) July (1) August September October November (4) December
January February March (11) April (1) May June (2) July August September October November December
January February March April May June July August September October (1) November December
January February March April May June July (1) August September October November December (1)
January February March April May June July August (1) September (1) October November (1) December
January February March April May June July August September October November December