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Old 10-27-2018, 09:15 PM   #1
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Hurricane Michael Panama City area

We now have the distinction here of having been clobbered by just about the most powerful hurricane to make landfall in the US. I believe it compares well with Hurricane Andrew which hit the Miami/Homestead area.

It is now 17 days since the strike, and things like water and power are mostly restored, but 22,000 customers are still without power. I spoke to the power crew supervisor rebuilding the power grid in my neighborhood, and he said in 25 year he had never seen the like.

The eye wall winds across most of Panama City proper were from the north while the widely publicized winds which destroyed Mexico Beach just twenty miles east were southerly.

While I do not know what happened to the Bay Point Marina off the more sheltered north side of Grand Lagoon, I have seen photos of the devastation to the boat barns on the south side.

Sun Harbor Marina and the two city marinas loopers and other transients are familiar with are out of action. All surviving vessels in the St Andrews city marina are ordered to leave until the place is rebuilt. A friend lost his 42-foot trawler there. I am not sure any vessels survived Panama City Marina at the foot of Harrison Avenue.

The big Miller Marine boatyard here has been put out of action due to the toppling of some boats, mostly sail, and the resultant stalemate due to insurance claims. NONE of the many boats lifted out of the water before the storm are being placed back in the water. I would know, because I can hear their travel lift from my home.

Tyndall Air Force Base and its marina are destroyed. Friends who kept their boat there have a photo of their 44-foot ketch's masts sticking out of the bay.

The best protection from this beast was to leave the area with your boat either on a trailer or by water or to hide the vessel in a protected bayou or canal.

We anchored a sailboat which uses my pier as home base across the bayou with a Fortress FX-37 I loaned him, a crappy little Danforth style, and a smallish CQR. The darned thing survived.

My boat was spider-webbed way up a narrow canal in chest-deep water and suffered only $200 in damage when a big pine fell across it - tree was stopped short of doing more damage by its own lower limbs preventing it completely collapsing into the bayou.
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Old 10-27-2018, 10:04 PM   #2
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Glad you made out OK, Rich, but it’s a long way back for that area. Do you plan to stay?
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Old 10-27-2018, 10:51 PM   #3
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Good to hear you made it through OK but sad about the local marinas you mentioned. We have stayed at them quite a few times over the years they were very nice. Especially "Rich's Place"!
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Old 10-27-2018, 11:05 PM   #4
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Interested in what you experienced with surge, being near west of the eye. Sounds like you/yours are basically ok. That's a big deal. Thoughts are with you.
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Old 10-28-2018, 09:39 AM   #5
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Yes, we are staying. I think most people with any roots here and many without would never think of leaving. On the flip side is the fact that at least for now, many businesses are not open; some may not reopen. That means that many of the people we see serving food, manning cash registers, and in general making the wheels of capitalism roll along will have to make do in the interim or leave to find jobs.

Steve, I have cut away all the metal that was projecting from the wrecked Big Top vinyl boat shed that was obstructing the slip you used before, but until the adjacent boat lift is rebuilt, the Frolic will be residing there, once I free it from the canal in which it is trapped.

Surge: We could not be sure what side of the storm we would be on until the last moment, and once the winds started strongly from the NORTH, I was hopeful that we would have a home when the storm passed because had the storm moved twenty miles to the west, we would have looked something like Mexico Beach. Surge was touted by the "sky is falling" crowd on The Weather Channel and others was 13 feet. Our home is 4.5 feet above high water. As it was, I looked across the bayou as the winds began to shift to the west from higher safer ground at the house and saw waves breaking against the base of our foot and a half high back porch. In the end there was not a drop of seawater in the house, and the real damage in our area was from the winds and falling trees.

I got a text yesterday informing me that a way is being cleared toward the canal where the boat is trapped for the tree removal equipment to get in there. Maybe in a couple of days we will be able to tow it out to clear water for a quick dive to clear the prop and rudder before heading home.

We consider ourselves quite fortunate to be dry in our home with power and water.
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Old 10-28-2018, 05:49 PM   #6
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It eventually gets back to normal. We were in Pass Christian, MS for Katrina. We got 23 feet of storm surge in our home, and our boat sunk on its trailer in our driveway. It hit August 29, 2005 and power was restored to our neighborhood on January 10, 2006. At times it seemed things would never be back to normal. But, today, they almost are, so don’t give up!
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Old 10-28-2018, 11:18 PM   #7
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Seeing the devastation in FL brings back memories of what Katrina did to us by leveling Buras and Empire in Louisiana and then northward with leveling the Mississippi Gulf coast. For months post traumatic syndrome can be expected. It’s hard for ones mind to accept the new reality. I found it helpful to keeping yourself occupied and working daily in the fight to recover your normal life. In time you will actually be stronger as a result of it.
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Old 10-29-2018, 09:25 AM   #8
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Hurricane Michael Panama City area

I lived out Katrina in Biloxi. It was definitely the six months after that wear on you, I am in construction, I had two colleagues kill them selves over the stress of trying to rebuild and work, a storm like that shuffles the deck
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Old 10-30-2018, 10:47 AM   #9
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I lived out Katrina in Biloxi. It was definitely the six months after that wear on you, I am in construction, I had two colleagues kill them selves over the stress of trying to rebuild and work, a storm like that shuffles the deck
A Sad postnote. About two years after Katrina, I was talking to our parish priest on the Mississippi gulf coast, who told me he had attended to more suicides in 2006 than he had in his entire career combined.

Having your world destroyed by a major hurricane is a life changing event, and not often for the better. Anyone in one should seek counseling and stay with it for years, as it often takes a while for repressed stress to manifest itself.
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Old 10-30-2018, 11:24 AM   #10
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Our boat was in Baypoint marina, the marina suffered severe damage to all except the newly built in 2017 main dock, it is now closed for reconstruction which we’re told will take at least a year.
We secured our boat in our slip on Dock 3 and suffered some moderate damage which is repairable.
We moved over to the main dock the day after Michael came through as Dock 3 was all but demolished, we had to kayak out to our boat and clear the wreckage from around it so we could move her.
Fortunately the tree we tied our kayaks to missed them when it came down!!
Two boats were sunk and many suffered damage from “piling rub” and broken pilings. several sailboats were demasted.
Compared to many of the other local marinas it fared reasonably well!
There are now very few slips available now between Apalachicola and San Destin, I’m not too sure how many are left in the Apalachicola area.
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Old 10-30-2018, 12:01 PM   #11
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Appreciate the surge info, Rich. Glad things are starting to come together.

Speaking as a Katrina veteran (yep, I got everyone near and dear evacuated, then stayed myself), the challenges are immense. Some people will crack under the stress. It's hard to live without a grocery store. It's dangerous for some to have difficulty in accessing a pharmacy. It's devastating to lose all of your material possessions. On and on.

As a counterpoint, I saw countless acts of kindness, courage, and a spirit of "we're all in this together" that played out again and again. A sense of "gitter done". Strange days, but not without some bright spots. My best wishes to all over there.
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Old 10-30-2018, 02:26 PM   #12
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Rich, if you have a chain saw I can bring my skiff up there this weekend and we can try to clear a path to your boat!

Boats near the shore end of our floating dock fared OK. Mine (small blue boat in the foreground) only got some minor dock rash. This is downtown St. Andrews marina, looking north. Being on the west side of the eye, the winds were from the north and west.
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Old 10-30-2018, 02:29 PM   #13
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Boats at the distal end of the dock weren't so lucky. The end of one of the two floating docks broke away, resulting in a jumble of boats (photo from the other thread, courtesy of Mercail). Most of these appear to be total losses.
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Old 10-30-2018, 02:31 PM   #14
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Different marina, downtown Panama City Marina, about 3 miles to the east. (Again, courtesy of Mercail)

This marina was pretty much wiped out. Heartbreaking.
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Old 10-30-2018, 02:39 PM   #15
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Our neighborhood, right on the bay about 20 miles west of the eye. The water rose to about 18" above the walls of this canal behind our house.
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Old 10-30-2018, 03:55 PM   #16
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Not sure if this information will help anyone in the PC area, but there are slips available in Carrabelle if you can get your boat there. I'm pretty sure that The Moorings, and C-Quarters have slips available. Both are nice marinas. There are also slips available in St. Marks at Shields Marina, which is an excellent facility, though further east.
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Old 11-01-2018, 12:32 PM   #17
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Not sure if this information will help anyone in the PC area, but there are slips available in Carrabelle if you can get your boat there. I'm pretty sure that The Moorings, and C-Quarters have slips available. Both are nice marinas. There are also slips available in St. Marks at Shields Marina, which is an excellent facility, though further east.
That’s good news. If I remember right, I think it was about two years before any marinas got rebuilt and re-opened on the Mississippi gulf coast. They just aren’t a priority when people need homes and businesses need to be rebuilt.

Not too mention, it was over a year before all the debris was removed from the waterways (when everything is just a slab, and two hundred cars are missing, you know all that stuff went somewhere!). So boat careful!
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Old 11-05-2018, 02:36 PM   #18
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I was in the Port St Joe Marina. Moved to a good hurricane hole before the storm and glad I did. PSJ Marina is heavily damaged and they estimate it will be 18 months before they reopen.

After the storm, I anchored off Apalachicola for a week. I have friends that moved into Scipio Creek marina. Their docks survived but most the infrastructure was under repair. Even their large propane tank had broke free and was leaking a stream of propane out.

The Apalachicola city marina (old Miller Marine) was heavily damaged. However the free city face dock and dinghy dock survived with no apparent damage.

Scipio Creek is now beyond full from what my friends there have told me. Boats are rafted off each other. The fuel dock is operational but was cash only since their entire ship store was underwater - no point of sale operational..

You can get fuel but cannot stay the night - they are directing cruisers on to Carabelle.

I decided to jump the Bend for Clearwater on Oct 16th. I encountered large pieces of hurricane debris up to 50 miles offshore. Pieces of houses, large trees, boats, etc.

There were a large number of aids to navigation that were missing or well off station at the time. The Coast Guard has been busy fixing these.

My decision to leave the area is based on my experience with Hurricane Ivan in Pensacola. It took over a year before I could find a slip and over 2 years before the marina I was in prior to the storm was rebuilt. After a major storm, the uphill battle is years long just to get back to pre hurricane status. I just didn't have it in me to slug through this again when my home is mobile.
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Old 11-05-2018, 07:57 PM   #19
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Hurricanes are a drag. Like Katrina and others, it may be the government that's more of a problem than the storm.

Does anyone know the status of St George Inlet and the ICW from Apalac to Destin??
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Old 11-05-2018, 09:11 PM   #20
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Good evening all. My heart goes out to all who lost property during Michael. I currently have an open slip in Battery Park Marina in Apalachicola. If anyone needs temporary assistance let me know. I will make the arrangements as needed. I just closed on a GB 32 but fortunately it was in Savannah and is currently in Brunswick. Let me know by pm.
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