Panama City resident and Oneida citizen Lavern Lange rode out Hurricane Michael with her significant other Stan West and felt fortunate that they only lost their gutters and patio to the 155 mph winds.
“That’s not even worth complaining about compared to everything else that’s messed up around here,” said Lange. “Our city is just destroyed.”
In Panama City, most homes were still standing, but no property was left undamaged. Downed power lines lay nearly everywhere. Roofs had been peeled off and carried away. Aluminum siding was shredded to ribbons. Homes were split open by fallen trees.
Hundreds of cars had broken windows. Twisted street signs lay on the ground. Pine trees were stripped and snapped off about 20 feet high.
The hurricane also damaged hospitals and nursing homes in the Panama City area, and officials worked to evacuate hundreds of patients. The damage at Bay Medical Sacred Heart included blown-out windows, a cracked exterior wall and a roof collapse in a maintenance building. No patients were hurt, the hospital said.
“We’ve lost both hospitals, and there’s no power or water anywhere, they’re saying it’s going to be a couple of months before we get power back. I’m not sure what we’re going to do, I’m not sure what anybody’s going to do at this point,” said Lange.
Lange and West plan to stay with his son in the Tampa Bay area when the roads re-open.
“We are running low on everything. We had a generator to run our refrigerator,” said Lange. “The lines for the fuel are so long,” said Lange.
Associated Press writers Jay Reeves and Brendan Farrington contributed to this story.