Surfers Make the Most out of Tropical Storm Andrea

By: Cameron Taylor Email
By: Cameron Taylor Email

Tropical Storm Andrea may be bringing in wind and rain, but it's also affecting some of Bay County's most popular destinations. Double red flags are up and mean people aren't allowed to swim in the water.

It's not stopping some area residents from enjoying what they call the perfect surfing weather. Blake Hornsby says he lives for this type of weather brought by Tropical Storm Andrea.

"I grew up working on the beach. I worked on the beach for about 15 years now. If the waves are up and we can't work, we go get wet and surf," said Blake Hornsby, a surfer.

That's just what Hornsby did Thursday morning despite the rough water conditions. Those sitting on the beach aren't allowed to swim with double red flags flying.

Surfers have an exemption through a county ordinance.

"If you're surfing and you have a legitimate surfboard with a leash and with this kind of surf, I would bring some experience with you because this is deadly water right here," said Lt. Steve Nagy with the Bay County Sheriff's Office.

Besides affecting the beaches, Tropical Storm Andrea is also delaying flights. Those flying out of Atlanta to Northwest Florida Beaches International may have to wait a little longer.

"Anytime there's a storm like this. Anytime there's weather en route. It impacts the whole national airspace system. Airplanes coming in from all over the country may see delays," said Executive Director Parker McClellan

These waves are what the sheriff's office says are most dangerous during a storm. Something Hornsby says he can relate to.

"You know I've almost drowned one time before. It was during a hurricane. It was really big, probably 30 foot waves," said Hornsby.

Even with that close call, Hornsby says the waves make surfing worthwhile.

"Hurricanes come through and it's super windy, but if there's waves, we're out there," said Hornsby.

The sheriff's office tells Newschannel 7 they will continue warning people to stay out of the water while double red flags are flying.

8195 Front Beach Road Panama City Beach, FL 32407 Station: 850-234-7777 News: 850-230-5221 Fax: 850-233-6647
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