State lawmakers react to Hurricane Michael category change

BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Friday morning the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration retroactively upgraded Hurricane Michael to a category five.

Hurricane Michael is now only the fourth hurricane on record to make landfall as a category five storm in the United States. State lawmakers told us what this change means for our area.

Jay Trumbull, State Representative, District 6, said, "It's validation for the people that lived through one of the most incredible, devastating storms our country has ever seen."

The upgrade in category will affect our area, and state lawmakers hope it will also have an impact on how Congress will deal with it.

"It hit a very pristine, very unique part of our state, so again this validates what we've been saying all along, and hopefully, this will spur Congress to do the job," said Senator Bill Montford, (D) District 3.

"This will give the President the ability to request from FEMA a 90% reimbursable amount from FEMA which will only require the state and the feds to come in with a 10% match, so five percent from the state and five percent from the local government so it's going to alleviate and relieve a significant amount of burden from our community," said Representative Trumbull.

For the non-profit group Michael's Angels, who have been advocating for more relief money, they said it shows they are slowly making a difference.

Julie Sombathy, a member of Michael's Angels, said, "We were all very excited about it, it has a lot of benefit from the person insured's perspective but most of all it's what we all knew anyway and it gives Congress more incentive to do something...191 days out."

Senator George Gainer, (R) Panama City, says we should remember one thing, "This is an opportunity we don't need to pass on, we need to make sure that we take advantage of every little door that gets open and this is a big one."