Locals prepare for first day of hurricane season
Many locals remember the howling winds of Hurricane Michael.
"My family had a place over there in Mexico Beach and it destroyed their house, and took my trailer with it," said Burnice Russ, a Panama City resident.
With the first day of hurricane season here, some locals are praying the weather will be in their favor the next couple of months.
"Hopefully to have no hurricane this year, and not have to leave or board up," said Panama City Beach Resident Jim Showman.
But Showman says he's planning for the worst.
"I've been here 40 years so I've already done a lot of preparations. We have batteries, we have water, I have hurricane shutters built for my house", said Showman.
Bay County Emergency Officials are also getting shelter plans in place at Deane Bozeman School, North Bay Haven High School, and Rutherford High School, which is undergoing renovations.
"We're just making sure that those renovations don't affect the shelter operations in the building next door, so that maybe something we may have to work around. So those are the kinds of things that we're looking at in advance," said Frankie Lumm, the Emergency Management Division Chief for Bay County Emergency Services
Emergency officials are encouraging people to buy supplies now, because through June 4 items related to disaster preparedness are exempt from the sales tax.
"Any of the participating stores, usually at the end of the aisle they'll have batteries, flashlights, weather radios, things of that nature that folks will need to put into their packs," said Lumm.
But for now, locals say they don't want to see another storm like Michael in their lifetime.
"I'm looking for another 24 years. By that time, I'll be in heaven, looking down, smiling and praying for everybody," said Showman.