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The original item was published from 12/19/2018 4:20:00 PM to 2/6/2020 3:50:46 PM.

News Flash

Recover Bay County

Posted on: October 15, 2018

[ARCHIVED] Hurricane Michael Oct. 15 update



Essential Information

  • The Citizen Information Line is open to answer residents’ questions 24-hours, seven days a week by calling 2-1-1. For emergencies please call 9-1-1.
  • A curfew is in effect for Bay County from 6:30 p.m. to 6:30 a.m.   
  • The Bay County Board of County Commissioners will hold an emergency meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 16 at 9 a.m. at the Panama City Beach Council Chambers located at 104 S. Arnold Road to discuss extending the local declaration of emergency and any other storm-related issues.    
  • Phone, cell and internet service remains down or spotty. Gov. Rick Scott announced that more than 2,000 telecommunications professionals working in 200 Communication Technician Repair Crew Strike Teams are fully mobilized in impacted counties working to restore cellular service. AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile have deployed mobile cellular towers to provide service.    
  • Weather for the next five days is expected to be sunny, with intervals of clouds. A stray shower or thunderstorm is possible with a 20-percent chance of rain on most days.   
  • The Bay County Medical Examiner’s Office has confirmed four storm-related deaths, this number is subject to future updates.    
  • The preliminary damage assessment numbers as of the end of day Sunday, Oct. 14, which are not complete and WILL CHANGE:    
    • 2,544 structures damaged
    • 669 structure failures
    • 162 structures destroyed

Emergency Operations Center Current Focus

  • All major roadways are clear at this time. Public Works traffic operations are working cut and toss operations to clear other roadways around the county and an inventory of needed traffic signal and sign repairs.    
  • Continued search and rescue.    
  • Delivery of mass care services such as food, water, medical supplies and sanitation.   
  • Special needs patients continue to be transferred out of the county.    
  • Responding to emergency services calls.   
  • Damage assessments.   
  • Volunteers registration and coordination through  
  • Clearing of roadways and debris that is dangerous to citizens and first responders.   
  • Coordination and tasking of the influx of resources from county, state and federal response agencies. 

Family Reunification Websites

  • Due to issues with communication lines throughout the panhandle, there has been an increase in the number of calls for individuals missing, well-being checks, and concerns. The State has established a webpage for individuals to report these concerns. The State EOC will route these inquiries to the appropriate local agency for response. Visit  
  • At the American Red Cross site register yourself as “Safe and Well” or concerned family and friends can search the list of those who have registered themselves as “safe and well” by clicking on the “Search Registrants” button. The results of a successful search will display a loved one’s first name, last name and a brief message.

Salvation Army Feeding Sites

Open for lunch and dinner daily 6:30 P.M.

  • Bay County    
    • Old Coram’s – Hwy. 231 and Hwy. 2301  
  • Callaway    
    • Walmart - 725 N. Tyndall Parkway
  • Cedar Grove    
    • Cedar Grove Elementary School - 2826 15th Street 
  • Lynn Haven    
    • Winn Dixie - 1812 Lynn Haven Parkway
  • Mexico Beach    
    • Mexico Beach City Hall - 201 Paradise Path
  • Panama City    
    • Salvation Army - 1824 W. 15th Street
    • MLK &14th Street - 705 14th Street
    • Jinks Middle School - 600 W. 11th Street
  • Panama City Beach    
    • Old K-Mart Parking Lot - 7100 Hwy. 98

FEMA Points of Distribution 

Offers Food and water while supplies last, items will be restocked continuously. OPEN 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Residents served on Sunday, Oct. 14 – 24,776.

  • Bay County    
    • Bozeman Learning Ctr - 13410 Highway 77 
  • Callaway    
    • First Pentecostal Church - 179 N. Tyndall Parkway
  • Lynn Haven    
    • Walmart - 2101 Highway 77
  • Panama City    
    • Lucille Moore Elementary School - 1900 Michigan Avenue
    • Rosenwald High School- 924 Bay Avenue
    • Cherry Street Elementary School - 1125 Cherry Street
  • Parker    
    • Parker Elementary School - 640 South Highway 22-A   
  • Springfield    
    • Subway - 3604 15th Street (Hwy 98)    
  • Youngstown    
    • Waller Elementary - 11332 C.R. 388  
  • Mexico Beach    
    • 1011 CR 386

FEMA Assistance
Although the federal government cannot make you whole, it may be able to help your recovery move forward by providing grants for basic repairs to make your home safe, accessible and secure. FEMA assistance also may provide temporary help with a place for you and your family to stay while you build your own recovery plan. To apply visit, or call 800-621-3362 (800-462-7585 TTY) you will need the following to apply for assistance:

  • Social Security Number;
  • Daytime telephone number;  
  • Current mailing address and address and zip code of the damaged property; and   
  • Insurance information, if available.

Long-term, low-interest disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration also may be available to cover losses not fully compensated by insurance and do not duplicate benefits of other agencies or organizations. Applicants may apply online using the Electronic Loan Application via the SBA’s secure website at or by calling the SBA Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 (800-877-8339 for the deaf and hard-of-hearing) or by sending an e-mail to

 Business Recovery


  • Bozeman School – 302 general population, 28 special needs    
    • 72 special needs patients transported via ambulance to the Leach Center in Tallahassee   
  • Breakfast Point Academy – 412 general population   
  • Northside Elementary School – 240 general population 

Boil Water Notice

  • All of Bay County is under a mandatory boil water notice.  
  • If you have utility power or generator power, bring the water to a rolling boil for at least three minutes    
  • If you do not have power, use bottled water or use eight drops of regular, unscented household bleach per gallon of water to prepare it for cooking use.

Gasoline is available but can run out quickly at a station. Visit for the most current list of stations who are open with gas.

Medication Refills
Winn Dixie located at 3621 US Hwy. 231 N in Panama City will have a mobile pharmacy open from noon to 5 p.m. until the regular store opens. The pharmacy techs will have TDAP, flu and hepatitis immunizations on hand. If your current pharmacy is still closed, the mobile pharmacy is able to refill prescriptions without transfer due to the Florida State of Emergency.


  • If you have a homeowner’s or flood insurance policy, file your insurance claim immediately before applying for disaster assistance. Get the process started quickly. The faster you file, the faster your recovery can begin.
  • The state of Florida’s toll-free Insurance Consumer Helpline (1-877-693-5236) can answer business and consumer-oriented insurance-related questions. CFO Patronis has launched a Hurricane Michael Insurance Resources webpage to provide comprehensive insurance information. Access the webpage at   
  • Do you need to file an insurance complaint? You can contact a Division of Consumer Services specialist directly by telephone on weekdays between the hours of 7 a.m. - 4 p.m. at the statewide, toll-free number 1-877-MY-FL-CFO (1-877-693-5236). If you are calling from out of state, please dial (850) 413-3089. You can also email or visit


Public Schools

  • Damage assessment of the public school system buildings continues. Opening schools is a priority and will be done as soon as it is safe to do so. 


County Offices

  • Unless otherwise notified by your supervisors, all county employees should return to work on Wednesday, Oct. 17 at your usual location.    
  • Employees should expect to receive disaster work assignments based on needs and skills.   
  • County office reopening will be announced as they occur. 

 City of Lynn Haven

  • City streets are 100 percent passable.    
  • Water, food and basic supplies are being distributed behind City Hall and donations can be dropped off there also.   
  • Testing of the water and sewer systems is underway.  
  • Household garbage pickup will begin on Tuesday, Oct.16.    
  • Critical needs include tarps and chainsaws.Donations can be dropped off at the Southerland Event Center located at 1112 Ohio Ave.


City of Panama City

  • Residents should put their blue trash cans at the roadway.   
  • Testing of the water and sewer systems is underway.Service will be restored for some residents today; however, the boil water notice remains in effect until further notice and residents are urged to limit their use of the sewer system.

City of Springfield

  • Testing of the water and sewer systems will begin in the next 2-3 days and results will determine next steps.   
  • Residents are urged to turn off the breakers in their electrical panels until power is restored. When power is restored, gradually turn on the breakers to prevent surges.

City of Callaway

  • City Hall is not open.Citizens can obtain information at the Fire Department (252 N. Star Avenue).  
  • Water and sewer service are not yet available.  
  • Residents are urged to turn off the breakers in their electrical panels until power is restored.When power is restored, gradually turn on the breakers to prevent surges   
  • Assume all downed power lines are “hot” and avoid coming into contact with them.


Garbage Pickup

In the unincorporated areas of Bay County, please contact your residential garbage provider to learn if or when they can resume normal operations.

Hospitals & Nursing Homes

  • All hospitals have been evacuated, but the following emergency departments are open:
  • Bay Medical Hospital – 6151 N. Bonita Ave., Panama City  
  • Bay Medical Beach Emergency Department – 11111 Panama City Beach Pkwy., Panama City    
  • Gulf Coast Regional Hospital – 449 W. 23rd St., Panama City 
  • Six nursing homes have been evacuated and three remain open and operational. Eight assisted living facilities have been evacuated with three remaining open and operational. 

Building Repairs/Permits/Hiring a Contractor

  • Residents living in the unincorporated areas, or outside city limits, with home or business damage may make temporary repairs to secure the structure. Permanent repairs are not permissible until the work can be properly permitted by the county. Permits will be available as soon as the Bay County Builder Services office is functional.     
  • Florida law requires a contractor to be certified and/or licensed – not just a local business or occupational license – and have workers’ compensation insurance. The state sets specific rules and guidelines for professional licensing, standards that protect Floridians from personal harm or financial loss. Homeowners’ liability for injuries to uninsured contractors could be devastating.Door-to-door repair operators and out-of-state contractors may seem attractive because they usually do not have a long waiting list, but they are perpetrating a fraud.    
  • If you had damage to your home from the storm, it’s important that the work is done properly and that the person you hire is properly licensed. Contractors can easily be checked out by visiting or 850-487-1395. 



  • All major highways and bridges are open. However, please stay off the roads if possible as debris is still present. If you must drive, please remember that non-operable traffic lights should be treated as a four-way stop.    
  • Delta and American commercial flights are operating from the Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport.     
  • Railways are still inoperable due to a 100-car train derailment. There is currently no repair date estimation. 


Steelfield Landfill

  • The landfill is open for residential and commercial operations.     
  • Please contact your residential collection to learn when your home service will return.     
  • Residents in the unincorporated areas of Bay County that have storm-related debris are asked to move all debris to the right of way. When moving your debris curbside, please remember:
  • All storm generated debris must be separated and be placed in the right-of-way. Residents should avoid placing debris near power poles, fire hydrants, water meters, mail boxes or other utilities. Crews are not allowed on private property, so all debris must be in the right-of-way area, typically the area from a power pole to the curb    
  • No demolition debris will be picked up, please consult with your insurance company and/or contractor for demolition debris removal.   
  • Commercial customers please contact your contracted waste services provider for disposal services.Commercial waste should not be placed on the right-of-way.   
  • Do not place household garbage with storm debris.   
  • Storm-generated debris must be sorted and placed curbside in the following categories:    
    • Construction– furniture, carpet, tile, steel, glass, brick, concrete, asphalt roofing material, pipe, gypsum wallboard, lumber or anything used in the construction, renovation, and demolition of a structure.
    • Vegetative debris – Tree limbs, leaves, logs, pallets, and tree branches
    • White goods – washers, dryers, refrigerators, ranges, microwaves, water heaters, freezers and small AC units.
    • Electronics – T.V.s, computers, monitors, fax machines, stereos, speakers, etc.
    • Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) - Cleaning supplies, batteries, lawn chemicals, oils, oil-based paints and stains and pesticides.


Gas Pipelines/Service

TECO crews are continuing to respond to the area and assess gas lines as well as respond to gas leaks. Over 300 emergency gas leaks were reported with 202 addressed. Additional staff are being mobilized to the area


Power Outages

  • Bay County has 58,171 customers without power or 56 percent. However, Gulf Power announced that more than 95 percent of customers who can receive power in Panama City Beach east of Highway 79 to the Hathaway Bridge have been restored 18 hours before estimated restoration time.   
  • Please do not call 9-1-1 to report power outages.    


Generator Safety

  • Only connect the generator to appliances. Never plug a generator into any power outlet in your home. Connecting a portable electric generator directly to your household wiring can be deadly to you and to others.  
  • Use properly sized polarized extension cords. Overloading an extension cord may cause a fire.    
  • Never use a generator inside. Keep it outdoors, secured with a lock and chain if you feel that’s necessary.     
  • Keep generators away from doors, windows, vents or air conditioning equipment that could allow deadly fumes to come indoors.    
  • Be sure the generator is properly grounded. Always locate your generator outside on a dry surface.   
  • Before refueling, let the engine cool for at least two minutes first. Turn off all appliances connected to the generator before refueling.  
  • Always follow the instructors that come with your generator. 


Tetanus Risks
Tetanus is a risk when you get a puncture wound or cut. If you receive a puncture wound and it becomes contaminated with sewage, dirt or flood water, thoroughly clean the wound and have a healthcare provider determine whether a tetanus shot or booster is necessary. If you feel you need a tetanus, please visit your closest emergency centers.


To protect yourself from mosquitoes, follow the 5 D’s of mosquito control:

  • Dusk to Dawn: Mosquitoes prefer shady, humid areas where there is little wind. These are the times mosquitoes are most active.They and avoid being outdoors during these times  
  • Drain: Standing water in your yard or neighborhood are breeding sites for mosquitoes.Drain old tires, flowerpots and birdbaths    
  • Dress: Dress in light clothing long sleeves and pants when you are outside.  
  • Deet: If you are going to be outside when mosquitoes are most active, make sure you apply insect repellent.


Insects, snakes and other wildlife are moving to survive as the water levels change. Residents should monitor the area when outside, especially when with children and pets. Be aware of snakes that may be swimming in the water to get to higher ground and those that may be hiding under debris or other objects. If you see a snake, back away from it slowly and do not touch it.

What to do in the event of a snake bite:

  • Try to see the color and shape of the snake, which can help with treatment of the snake bite.   
  • Keep the bitten person still and calm. This can slow down the spread of venom if the snake is poisonous.    
  • Call 911 to get medical attention as soon as possible.    
  • Apply first aid until help arrives:   
  • Lay or sit the person down with the bite below the level of the heart.   
  • Tell him/her to stay calm and still.  
  • Cover the bite with a clean, dry dressing.

 Chain Saw Safety Tips

  • Operate, adjust and maintain the saw according to manufacturer’s instructions provided in the manual.  
  • Choose the proper size of chain saw to match the job and include safety features such as a chain brake, front and rear hand guards, stop switch, chain catcher and a spark arrester.   
  • Wear the appropriate protective equipment, including hard hat, safety glasses, hearing protection, heavy work gloves, cut-resistant leg wear (chain saw chaps) that extend from the waist to the top of the foot and boots that cover the ankle.
  • Always cut at waist level or below to ensure that you maintain secure control over the chain saw.  
  • Bystanders or coworkers should remain at least two tree lengths (at least 150 feet) away from anyone felling a tree and at least 30 feet from anyone operating a chain saw to remove limbs or cut a fallen tree.   
  • If injury occurs, apply direct pressure over site(s) of heavy bleeding and call for help. This act may save a life.

Price Gouging Hotline

  • Report any suspected price gouging by calling 1-866-9-NO-SCAM (1-866-966-7226). Florida law prohibits extreme increases in the price of essential commodities such as food, water, hotels, ice, gasoline, lumber and equipment needed as a direct result of an officially declared emergency.

 Open Businesses (list is not complete)
Most businesses located west of Richard Jackson Boulevard in Panama City Beach are open. If you have a business in Lynn Haven and Panama City that is open that you would like to be listed, please post to the Bay County Chamber of Commerce Facebook page.  

  • CVS — 23208 Front Beach Road  
  • Destiny Worship Center — 13300 Panama City Beach Parkway (serving hot meals as of 10/13/18) 
  • Exxon "Happy Store" — Gulf Blvd & Back Beach Road  
  • Exxon / Texaco — Back Beach Road & FL 77  
  • Home Depot— 11500 Panama City Beach Parkway   
  • Just Jump & Food — 11220 Hutchinson Blvd (Food Truck) 
  • Lowes — 11751 Panama City Beach Parkway    
  • Publix – 2310 Hwy. 77    
  • Publix — 11240 Panama City Beach Parkway   
  • Publix — 23026 Panama City Beach Parkway   
  • Sharkey's — 15201 Front Beach Road    
  • Target — 15555 Starfish Street  
  • Tom Thumb — 22401 Panama City Beach Parkway  
  • Tom Thumb — Marathon Gas — 13616 Middle Beach Road   
  • Trust Mart— 17255 Panama City Beach Parkway  
  • Sonic – 1508 Ohio Ave.    
  • Waffle House — 17110 Back Beach Road   
  • Walmart — 15495 Panama City Beach Parkway    
  • Winn Dixie — 23200 Beach Road    
  • Winn Dixie —17184 Front Beach Road    
  • Woodstock — 17495 Panama City Beach Parkway


Recreational Areas/Special Events Cancelations

  • The Bay County Haunted Hay Ride is canceled.    
  • The Thunder Beach Fall Motorcycle Rally is canceled.        

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