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The Aftermath of Michael

As some of you may know, I lived and worked in Northwest Florida for over 3 years. My former stomping grounds sustained massive damage from Hurricane Michael.


Rumpy and I saw this posted on a utility pole on Highway 98, Panama City, in April of 2016. A premonition, perhaps?

I feel so helpless as I see people I know and care about posting photos of the damage to their homes on Facebook. None have power and many lack water. I also feel grateful to no longer live there.

Schools are damaged or destroyed. Both hospitals in Panama City are closed to all but emergency cases and are evacuating patients to other areas. Law enforcement are not allowing people to re-enter the area.

Yesterday I watched videos posted by journalists riding around and I didn’t recognize where they were, though I’d bet you I’ve driven on every main road in Bay County at least once.

When I lived and worked in Panama City, where 22% of residents live in poverty, I saw things such as (and no, these were not rare occurrences):

  • unpaved roads of red dirt and sand that were filled with deep ruts after a prolonged rain (there are many such roads in the Florida panhandle)
  • homes that reeked of mold and where heavy rugs covered the soft spots in the floor
  • people who lacked transportation and either depended on public transportation or paid neighbors or family members to take them places
  • homeless people hanging out near my home while waiting for the nearby shelter to open late in the afternoon so they could grab a meal before heading for an encampment on the bayou
  • people sleeping on the back stoop of an empty office building, and on several occasions I found them in my neighbor’s yard

The Florida Panhandle is a Republican stronghold where some people believe that all you need is God and (lots of) guns. A sizable number of residents distrust all forms of government. I can’t imagine how it’s going to go with them trying to maneuver the FEMA system to obtain help.

I worry about the opiate addicts who will no doubt suffer withdrawals because they are unable to obtain drugs. I worry about the grandparents who were already stretched thin caring for their grandchildren.

I’m also concerned for the mental health of every resident who has seen their community destroyed.

If you are able to donate to help in the recovery effort, please give to reputable nonprofits. You can donate to the Florida Disaster Relief Fund using the link or text “DISASTER” to 20222 to make a one-time $10 donation that will be added to your phone bill.

The Community Foundation of Middle TN has opened its’ Music City Cares campaign to raise funds for nonprofits providing help on the ground in the Panhandle area.

Also, you can donate to the American Red Cross using this link or text MICHAEL to 90999 for a one-time $10 donation.

And please keep them in your thoughts today and for many days to come.





About Jen and the Furries

Hello and welcome. I’m a 50 something woman who’s probably awake when she should be sleeping. Oh, and there are animals, because who doesn’t have pets?


12 thoughts on “The Aftermath of Michael

  1. It’s so overwhelming, all that’s happening to so many. And all one/I can do is donate, one simple act of kindness at a time. But it is so far from enough. Thanks for this.

    Posted by The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap | October 11, 2018, 10:25 AM
    • It is. We have widespread flood damage in the Carolinas. Wildfire damage in the western part of the country. Puerto Rico is still struggling. And now this. But I have to say that this seems even more real because I know the place and its people. I guess you know that feeling all to well.

      Posted by Rumpy's Kitty Siblings | October 11, 2018, 10:58 AM
  2. Thank you for this post, I shared it on my personal facebook page and Dakota’s page (couldn’t tag you, I tried!! I included the link to your post)……and I tweeted it and pinned it.

    Posted by Dakota/Caren/Cody | October 11, 2018, 12:08 PM
  3. I visited Panama City Beach for a week in September 1995 with some friends and stayed in a spacious condo that overlooked the Gulf. We all had a great time! We left on a Saturday evening, and just before we headed out, I noticed the skies had turned grayish white and were moving northward. The surf had already begun to pick up. I had also happened to see a report on the Weather Channel about a tropical system that had formed in the Bay of Campeche a couple of days earlier and speculated aloud that it was probably causing those cloudy conditions in PCB. My friends doubted it; saying that storm was too far off to impact Florida yet. I reminded them those systems can impact wind and water hundreds of miles away.

    That storm system because Hurricane Opal, which crashed into PCB that following week. It was the first time since U.S. meteorologists had begun naming tropical storm systems in 1953 that the Atlantic/Caribbean group reach the letter ‘O’. That year, 1995, turned out to be the busiest on record for the Atlantic/Caribbean since 1932. The following year was even busier than that and held the record for the largest number of tropical storms and hurricanes in the Atlantic/Caribbean, until 2005.

    I wondered about all the people we’d encountered in PCB and how they made it through the storm. One of my friends had grown up just across the state line in southern Alabama and remembered when Hurricane Eloise hit in September 1975. It created a gigantic row of sand dunes right along the beach that were still in place when I visited. He told us the beach front had been relatively flat until then.

    Posted by Alejandro De La Garza | October 11, 2018, 12:16 PM
  4. The cycle of destruction from storms seems to go round and round. You are lucky to have moved away.

    Posted by Animalcouriers | October 12, 2018, 3:38 AM
  5. That is way too much for you to carry on your mind. I see you are a thinker and maybe an over-thinker. Society is different now. Ethics are non-existent. And people don’t modify behavour and spending according to what they can afford or maintaine. It’s all part of a bigger picture. I worry too. All I can do is try to do the right thing and try to help where I can even in small ways and hope for the best. I’ll be old one day too if I’m lucky. Cheers,H

    Posted by helentastic67 | October 13, 2018, 9:35 AM
  6. The situation is so sad, and utterly overwhelming. I can’t even begin to imagine. 😦

    Posted by meowmeowmans | October 13, 2018, 10:53 PM

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