PANAMA CITY BEACH, FL—As local and federal authorities in Florida focus their efforts on Hurricane Michael’s destruction and keeping people safe, some Central Indiana Hoosiers are also finding themselves caught in Michael’s path.
Caitlin Snyder,Cody Donald,Charissa Birnbaum, and Jordan Lingle say they were in the middle of a week long vacation in Destin when they got the news that Michael would make landfall. To avoid being caught in the storm the quartet opted to evacuate and drive to Nashville Tuesday morning.
“And so we are very thankful that we left when we did and now we’re not in danger,” Cody Donald said.
The group says prior to leaving, the were taken aback by how much Florida residents were downplaying the story. They say the attitude of the locals was almost was enough to make them stay.
“I’m thankful to be vacationing with people who were thinking about how bad things could be, because I probably wouldn’t have left,” Caitlin Snyder said.
Meanwhile as some fled, other Hoosiers decided to stick it out.
Kelly Buddrige and her vacationing family of 7 are currently in the middle of a vacation in Panama City Beach, which is one of the hardest hit areas in Florida. Buddrige says for the last 24 hours her family has watched strong winds and storm surge topple trees, break countless windows and rip the roofs off of homes and businesses.
“I hate to use the words that it was kind of interesting to watch, because I’m sure there was some devastation to some homes. But for us, because we knew we were safe, it was almost fascinating to see the power of the ocean come up on land,” Buddrige said.
According to officials at least one person is dead and hundreds of thousands of homes are now without power. Buddrige says the amount of devastation across Florida is the reason her family decided to stay in Panama City Beach. They plan on helping with the cleanup once Michael passes.
“We stayed and we’re ready to help out tomorrow where it’s needed because like i said, there’s a massive amount of debris everywhere,” she said