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The original item was published from 12/19/2018 4:07:00 PM to 2/6/2020 3:50:46 PM.

News Flash

Recover Bay County

Posted on: October 17, 2018

[ARCHIVED] Hurricane Michael Oct. 17 update


 Essential Information

  • Governor Rick Scott announced today that the Florida Housing Finance Corporation (Florida Housing) is helping families displaced by Hurricane Michael find affordable rental housing through Socialserve. Florida residents displaced by Hurricane Michael can visit the affordable rental housing locator service,, to find available units in Florida.
  • For emergencies, please call 9-1-1. As of Wednesday, Oct. 17 approximately 5,000 calls were received on the 2-1-1 Citizen Information Line.
  • Approximately 2,000 responders are in Bay County assisting in response and recovery efforts.
  • A curfew is in effect for Bay County from 6:30 p.m. to 6:30 a.m.
  • Weather for the next several 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.
  • All alcohol sales remain banned during the state of emergency.
  • The Bay County Medical Examiner’s Office has confirmed 15 storm-related deaths.
  • The preliminary damage assessment numbers as of Wednesday, Oct. 17, which are not complete and WILL CHANGE:    
    • 6,053 structures damaged 
    • 1,078 structure failures    
    • 1,935 structures destroyed

Operation Blue Roof to Help Families Temporarily Repair Homes at No Cost
Operation Blue Roof, which temporarily repairs roofs at no cost to families, is now available. The temporary covering of blue plastic sheeting helps reduce further damage to property until permanent repairs can be made. 

Primary residences that have standard shingled roofs are eligible to receive a temporary blue roof. Metal roofs and mobile homes will be considered for the program, as practical on a case-by-case basis. Roofs with greater than 50- percent structural damage are not eligible for this program. Renters must obtain legal permission from the homeowner to continue occupying the residence until more permanent repairs are made.

Homeowners must sign a Right of Entry, or ROE, form to allow government employees and contractors onto their property to assess damage and install the temporary covering.

Right of Entry collection centers are located at:

Panama City Square
525 W 23rd Street    
Panama City, FL

15495 Panama City Beach Parkway
Panama City Beach, FL

2101 S. Hwy. 77
Lynn Haven, FL 

Centers are open from 8 a.m.-6 p.m. CDT daily. Additional locations may be added as necessary.

For the most current information, please visit the Jacksonville District website at or call 1-888-ROOF-BLU (888-766-3258). Information is provided in both English and Spanish through this single number.

 Emergency Insurance Village in Bay County

 Following Hurricane Michael’s devastation to the Florida panhandle, Chief Financial Officer and State Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis will deploy an emergency insurance village in Panama City to assist residents with the insurance claims process.

What:              Hurricane Michael Insurance Village
When:             Wednesday, October 17 to Friday, October 19 (WILL BE ADJUSTED AS NEEDED)          
                        8 a.m. to 5 p.m. CDT
Where:            Sam’s Club Parking Lot, 1707 W 23rd St

Residents should bring as much documentation as they can:  
-   A driver’s license or other form of identification. (Passport/State issued ID)
-   Insurance cards and insurance policy information/documentation
-   Pictures or documentation of the property being claimed as a loss resulting from Hurricane Michael.
-   Any additional insurance-related information that is readily accessible.

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. 
  • Restoration of utilities.
  • Coordination and tasking of the influx of resources from county, state and federal response agencies. 

Cleanup Assistance
If you need assistance cleaning up your home, volunteer help may be available. Survivors and volunteers are matched and vetted through Signup to be added to their waiting list at or call 1-800-451-1954 or 1-844-965-1386.

Burn Ban

  • Due to the high level of debris and favorable burning conditions, the Bay County Commission enacted a burn ban at the Tuesday, Oct. 16 commission meeting. The ban prohibits open burning, to include but not limited to campfires, wildfires, bonfires, trash burning and other similar forms of incineration.
  • State permitted burns, authorized fireworks displays and fireworks sales which are authorized by state law and outdoor cooking in barbecue grills, smokers, or other outdoor stoves located at private residences are exempt.
  • The ban will remain in effect until the fire-borne threat has ended.

Transitional Housing Assistance

  • FEMA is providing Transitional Sheltering Assistance for families in Bay County. TSA provides FEMA funded short-term lodging in hotels and motels for eligible disaster survivors who are unable to return home for an extended period due to disaster-related damages or inaccessibility of their communities.
  • FEMA is currently notifying eligible families in Bay County who have already applied for assistance of their sheltering options under TSA. Families in Bay County looking to confirm their TSA eligibility should call
        1-800-621-FEMA or visit for more information on TSA and to find participating hotels and motels or to begin the assistance process.
  • Rental assistance from FEMA lasts for an initial period of 90 days.
  • FEMA does not use vouchers for hotels. All sheltering in hotel or motels approved by FEMA is paid directly to hotels. Survivors do not receive vouchers from FEMA.

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.

  • The Salvation Army    
    • 1824 W. 15th St Panama FL 32401
  • Cedar Grove Elementary School    
    • 2825 15th Street Panama City
  • Winn Dixie Lynn Haven    
    • 1812 Lynn Haven Pkwy Lynn Haven FL
  • Walmart Callaway    
    • 725 N Tyndall Pkwy Callaway FL
  • MLK Rec Center    
    • 705 14th Street Panama City FL
  • Old Kmart Parking Lot    
    • 7100 US 98 Panama City FL
  • Jinks Middle School    
    • 600 W 11th St Panama City FL
  • Coram's     
    • Hwy 2301 & 231
  • Parker Fire Department    
    • 4534 E Bus 98
  • Callaway Elementary/High Praise Church    
    • 7115 FL Hwy 22 Panama City 32404
  • Walmart Panama City    
    • 513 W 23rd Panama City
  • Walmart Lynn Haven    
    • 2101 S HIGHWAY 77 Lynn Haven
  • Walmart Panama City Beach    
    • 10270 Front Beach Road
  • 201 Paradise Path Mexico Beach  lunch only at  12:00    
    • Next to Mexico Beach City Hall

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; Monday, Oct. 15 – 24,000 and Tuesday, Oct. 16 - 18,952.

  • 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 Ave.
    • Rosenwald High School- 924 Bay Avenue 
    • Cherry Street Elementary School - 1125 Cherry Street   
    • Panama City Seventh-Day Adventist Church and School - 2700 Lisenby Ave.
  • 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


  • ASPCA is accepting stray animals and giving away pet supplies behind the Panama City Police Department located at 1209 E. 15th Street in Panama City. 

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. 

For more information about common questions and rumors, visit


  • Bozeman School – 225 general population
  • Breakfast Point Academy – 445 general population
  • Surfside Middle School – 268 general population


  • The Supervisor of Elections Office will be open Thursday, Oct 18.
  • No new mail-in ballots will be sent out.
  • If you already have a mail-in ballot do not put in the mail. Hand deliver to designated locations still to be determined at a later time.
  • Due to the storm, five mega voting sites will be set up instead on your assigned voting precinct, locations to be determined at a later time.
  • Early voting begins Saturday, Oct. 27 for 12 hours each day through Election Day.

Court Services

  • Courts are closed at this time. First appearances are being conducted at the jail, as they are federally mandated.

Bay County’s water and wastewater treatment plant and infrastructure sustained substantial damage. Despite this, we have made significant progress toward repairs, thanks to the help from DEP and FlaWARN.

  • Water is being restored to many of the county’s wholesale customers, including Panama City Beach, Panama City, the Airport and unincorporated Bay County. Intermittent loss will occur as crews find and repair leaks. Please be patient.
  • If you have any questions about when service will be restored to your city, please call the city’s utility department.
  • Water has been restored to many unincorporated Bay County customers in Southport and northern Bay County.


  • All unincorporated Bay County wastewater treatment plants and lift stations are operational.
  • All wastewater systems are still highly vulnerable. As water services are restored, it is extremely important to limit shower time and flushing.

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 eight drops of regular, unscented household bleach per gallon of water to prepare it for cooking use.

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. 

County Offices

  • To all BOCC employees who have not reported to your supervisors, please do so as soon as possible in order to see if you are needed at work. You should contact your supervisor prior to Friday morning in case plans to report to work have changed.
  • Employees should expect to receive disaster work assignments based on needs and skills.
  • County office and library reopenings will be announced as they occur. 

City of Mexico Beach
Three checkpoints have been established in Mexico Beach, allowing access to residents only with proof of residency.

Daytime checkpoints from 6:30 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.

  • West – U.S. 98 and western city limits
  • East – U.S.98 & State 386
  • North – State Road 386 one mile north of city limits

Evening checkpoints from 6:30 p.m. to 6:30 a.m.

  • 15th Street & State 386
  • 1st Street & State 386
  • Azalea Drive & State 386

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 under way.
  • 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.

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

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. Bay County BOCC Builders Services has opened a temporary office located in between the Bay County Government Center located at 840 W. 11th Street, Panama City and the Bay County Public Library. This site will be used to issue permits, and in particular, electrical permits and will be open from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. seven days a week.
  • Please note that permits will be issued for unincorporated residents ONLY. If you live within city limits, you must go to your city builder services office. For more information, please call 850-716-6628 or 850-716-6619.
  • 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. 

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 Servicesspecialist 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

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.

All hospitals have been evacuated, but the following emergency departments are open:

  • Bay Medical Sacred Heart – 6151 N. Bonita Ave., Panama City
  • Bay Medical Beach Emergency Department – 11111 Panama City Beach Pkwy., Panama City
  • Gulf Coast Regional Medical Hospital – 449 W. 23rd St., Panama City 


  • 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 service providers.
  • 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 remembe
    • 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 – TVs, computers, monitors, fax machines, stereos, speakers, etc.    
      • Household hazardous waste - 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. Customers whose natural gas service was impacted by the storm can reach the Peoples Gas Hurricane Hotline & their dedicated team of customer service professionals at 850-914-6130.
  • Peoples Gas Team Members and Contractors are required to carry a company ID badge at all times. If residents and business owners have any questions or concerns about workers entering their property they should ask to see an ID badge.
  • As responders work to access damage, make repairs and restore service, Peoples Gas advises customers to have their natural gas service on. Customers should not attempt to turn gas off at their meters. For safety reasons, Peoples Gas or emergency personnel may need to turn off some customers’ service at the meter. If customers find their gas service has been shut off, they should call the Peoples Gas Hurricane Hotline at 850-914-6130.
  • If any time residents smell a rotten egg, sulfur-like odor, see dirt blowing or water bubbling or hear a hissing or high-pitched whistling, there could be a natural gas leak. Residents should leave the premises immediately and then call the Peoples Gall 24-hour Emergency gas leak number at 1/877-832-6747. Say “emergency” or select option 1.
  • Customers and utility personnel in the Panhandle should remember to call 811 prior to restoration or repair work that requires digging. Calls to 811 from the area will be considered a priority. Marking underground utility lines is vitally important so that no additional damage occurs to these facilities as a result of restoration activities.

Power Outages

  • Bay County has 50,476 customers without power or 48.8 percent.
  • 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 five 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.

 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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