October 10th 2018
On October the 10th at 11am Hurricane Michael made landfall in the panhandle of Florida. Early on no one really expected Michael to be very strong. The predictions and the news were saying it was going to be a CAT 3. Growing up in Florida anything a CAT 3 or smaller, most Floridians just hunker down and clean up afterwards. We are quite use to the storms and it is part of everyday living here in Florida. Even the governor of Florida and the warning systems issued mandatory evacuations for certain zones only. The mandatory evacuations were zones A, B and C at first which were coastal areas roughly 1/2 mile from the beaches or less. These were all storm surge areas. Then later they added mobile homes and low lying areas to the mandatory evacuations. No other areas were mandatory. No one really worried about the wind areas, only flooding, at first. This to us reassured us it shouldn't be too bad or they would of issued mandatory for everyone, but they didn't. Just as the governor said, we hunkered down.
Then the worse possible scenario happened. Over night the average storm we are all used to turned into a monster. The once predicted CAT 3 turned into a very strong CAT 4 literally over night and was only 2 mph off from being a CAT 5. Most people were asleep when the strengthening of this storm took place and they woke up to all hell breaking loose.
The winds really started picking up around 9 am and by 11 am the storm was in full force laying down sustained winds of 155 mph and recorded gusts up to 201 mph. At landfall the westerly eye wall went directly through downtown Panama City up through Lynn Haven Florida.
The easterly section of the eye wall which was the absolute worse part of the storm reached from Callaway Florida to Mexico Beach. In the easterly section of the eyewall was Callaway, Parker, Springfield, Tyndall AFB, Mexico Beach and some smaller outlying towns and areas. Mexico Beach got damaged the worse. Most of Mexico Beach is simple gone. There is no other way to describe the destruction other than being wiped off of the maps. Even though Mexico Beach got it the worse, the destruction is far and wide.
This storm stayed a very strong Hurricane all the way into deep Georgia. CAT 4 and 3 winds reached hundreds of miles inland which is unheard of. This storm has been recorded as the worse to ever hit the Florida panhandle, 2nd worse to ever hit Florida and 3rd worse storm to ever hit the United States. Also in the record books is it make 2nd strongest storm ever in the united states with a pressure pf 919mb. This storm came in strong, fast and plowed through the area.
My family and I sat in our home and watched it all happen. I for one have sat through many hurricanes. For the first time in my life I was scared to death and feared for my family and mine lives. I prayed to god to let us live. At one point I laid my hands on the way and felt the entire house moving and vibrating as if we were flying. This was the scariest thing I have ever been through. I will never sit through anything predicted to be over a CAT 1 ever again.
Although every tree in our yard came down and some on our house, we sustained very little damage to our home. Some of our artists and employees were not so lucky. Some lost their entire home and some sustained thousands of dollars in damage. Many good people all across the entire area lost everything and this is so heartbreaking.
We had two locations that were doing well before the storm. Due to some damage, and power being off for a month and other bills and reasons we were forced into closing our second location in Parker. Now we only have the one location in downtown Panama City. Some artists and employees left town shortly after the storm for work and for other reasons. So we consolidated everyone else in to the one location.
We reopened the doors to the downtown location October the 20th, 10 days after the storm made landfall but we were barely open. We slowly regained operations and were fully operational again November 19th. We took a very large hit and due to the damage the entire area has sustained we can only guess as to what this new economy has in store for us. Hopefully we can survive and remain open for years to come.
We have watched everyone come together since the storm and even those who once hated each other now giving a helping hand to each other. The phrase "850strong" is everywhere as pride, love and compassion is being spread far and wide.
My family and I were unsure as to what to do but one thing is for sure, we are hunkering down and seeing this through. All of us at Seventh Seal loves our community and we are all helping in every way we possibly can. This will take years to recover but it is ok! It is Ok because as a community we have each other. We will get through this, we are all 850strong.
~Jerry Pipkins\owner Seventh Seal
Please excuse my writing, I am not a very good writer, but I wanted this in my own words.
Some of the pictures below or on this page are from the hashtag on Facebook #850strong.
We do not have or claim any rights to any of those images. We are merely sharing what was and is viewable under the hashtag #850strong on Social media, mainly Facebook. If anyone has a problem with us sharing a image they own the rights too, we will be happy to take it off our website. The pictures titled Seventh Seal Tattoo are our pictures. Feel free to share or use our pictures.
VARIOUS PICTURES OF DESTRUCTION
FROM HURRICANE MICHAEL