One of the biggest concerns after Hurricane Michael in the Florida Panhandle is lack of communication. There’s not much cell phone or internet service. Local 24’s Tish Clark has been reaching out to those in the area.
Tish skyped with Christy St. Jean Wednesday as she waited on Hurricane Michael to hit. She lived in Memphis nearly 30 years and moved to Havana, Florida last year. Havana is near Tallahassee.
St. Jean is okay. She sent us a picture of the devastation Thursday morning as she tried to make her way an hour and a half to Mexico Beach, east of Panama City, to check on her beach house.
“We really just got everything away from the house that could cause potential projectile to break windows or something of that nature,” said St. Jean Wednesday.
She intended to Skype or FaceTime with us Thursday, but communication is limited. We’re waiting to hear more from her now.
The US Army National Guard is monitoring areas badly damaged like Mexico Beach. St. Jean may have to wait a while. In the meantime, she prepared for a power outage and filled up with gas before stations ran out.
“We were pretty lucky. I was also able to get bottled water which a lot of other people haven’t been quite that lucky,” said St. Jean.
The last text St. Jean sent us said that she didn’t have internet and cell service was getting bad. She has family here in the Mid-South.
“Both of my kids are in Memphis. They go to the University of Memphis,” she said. “My mother is in that area. I do have quite a bit of family in the Mississippi, Tennessee area.”
Keep all this in mind as you try to check on loved ones. They most likely don’t have a way of communicating with you.
Tish has also been in constant touch with local utility crews headed to help restore power. They sent us pictures along the way. They left Pensacola around 5:00 a.m. Thursday and it took them several extra hours to make their way through Panama City to get to Mexico Beach, where some of the worst devastation is.
There are lots of downed power lines and trees. Homes and business destroyed. It’s a mess. We’re also waiting to hear from those utility crews.
Tish also heard from a friend with the Tennessee Task Force who’s been waiting for orders in Alabama. They’re now being deployed to Mexico Beach, one of the worst hit areas.
If you can’t reach loved ones, don’t panic. And don’t give up trying. Crews are working around the clock to restore power and service.