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‘Thank God for that wind blowing out of the north or we would have been knocked off the map’

Aftermath of Hurricane Michael leaves Panama City residents stunned

Hurricane Michael, one of the most powerful storms ever to hit the continental United States, slammed into the Florida Panhandle on Wednesday, unleashing a trail of destruction across 200 miles.
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Hurricane Michael, one of the most powerful storms ever to hit the continental United States, slammed into the Florida Panhandle on Wednesday, unleashing a trail of destruction across 200 miles.

As officials in East Alabama surveyed the damage left in the wake of Hurricane Michael Thursday morning, one small-town mayor dealing with power outages and a few downed trees expressed the sentiments of many in the region.

“We all need to thank God for that wind blowing out of the north or we would have been knocked off the map,” said Smiths Station Mayor Bubba Copeland.

The eye of the hurricane went well to the east of Phenix City and Smiths Station, crossed through southeast Georgia near Albany and Cordele and moved into middle Georgia near Macon. Before it took aim on Georgia as a Category 3 hurricane when it crossed the Florida-Georgia line, it devastated the Florida panhandle near Panama City and did extensive damage in southeast Alabama near Dothan.

The main issues in the Phenix City and Smiths Station area were downed trees and power outages.

“We still have about 5,000 people without power in the Smiths area, but we have been told that will be taken care of in pretty short order,” Copeland said about 9 a.m..

Copeland reported 22 trees or limbs down in Smiths Station.

The power was out in the north part of Phenix City near the Home Depot and Walmart, Phenix City Police Chief Ray Smith said.

“It appears to be pretty good in the rest of the city,” Smith said. “It looks like we dodged it.”

There was some tree damage and power outages reported in southern Russell County near Cottonton and Pittsview, Sheriff Heath Taylor said. The sheriff’s office, along with the county engineer’s office and the local volunteer fire departments worked into the night clearing the roads, Taylor said.

“A few trees came down, but we got them cleared as they came down,” Taylor said.

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