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Posted: 9/16/2004 5:39:12 PM EDT
Let me first say, I'll never stay for another Cat.4 again.

Did'nt really have a choice though..anyway, it was one of the scariest nights of my life. The siding on my house began to peel away during the hurricane and my wife and I had to go out and put in some screws to secure it, if not not my roof would have been torn away. Aside from that, it was a long blow here in FWB. We had lots of downed trees and lines in town. My neighbors across the street had a 100 year old tree begin to fall over from the roots up and then began to shred limbs that were hitting my house my next door neghbors house. SOunded like bolders landing...it was 12 hours of hell. Since this morning all the preparedness came into play, generator, lights a/c, food etc will be in use for the next couple of weeks if the power does not come back. It's not a total devastation, just a wide spread damage swath.

The bad news...Okaloosa Island and Destin's holiday Isle were breached with 15 foot storm surge that took out millions of dollars worth of homes and condos. Thr GUlf of Mexico was actuall breaking in the Santa Rosas sound. Dowtown FWB next to the water, was submerged in 4-6 foot water for the better part of 10 hours. Navarre beach is devasted but still have standing structures and no road. Highway 98 from FWB to Destin is gone. Period.

The worst news...one of my Sheriff friends came by and told that Gulf shores and Pensacola beach ,cease to exist. Gone. Hardly anything recognizable standing. I was standing at the edge of the sound this morning watching 100 years od beach and dunes that are gone in FWB. We are shocked and awed, to say the least. Over-all we in Okaloosa county are doing ok. Power will be out for weeks as will other amenities (sic). I have 45 gallons of gas for my generator and a freezer full of food. Most of the houses in FWB are doing ok. No big numbers to report for loss of life. Thank God.

I am just deeply saddened by the shear destruction over such a wide area. Pensacola beach is gone, in the words of our local Sheriiff. Which means billions of dollars are gone.

I am using my wife's dial-up and pc to give you this report. We still have phones in some parts of the city. Most of my friends who I was conecrned with have reported in, so to speak. SO God spared us and reallt took care of me and my family, I am thankful. If not being incharge of the some of the county facilities, I would have left. I will never stay for another Cat. 4...ever.

If you know of anyone that needs to be contacted or welfare checked..lemme know, I be happy to try.
Link Posted: 9/16/2004 5:41:29 PM EDT
I am glad that you guys rode it out without any major problems.
You are CRAZY for staying!!

Let me know if you hear anything about NAS Pensacola or the Air Museum.
Link Posted: 9/16/2004 5:47:47 PM EDT
Thank you for checking in. I'm sorry to hear of the mass-scale destruction. Hard to deal with, I'd imagine. Just give thanks that you and your family are safe.
Link Posted: 9/16/2004 5:49:01 PM EDT
Glad you made it through NG.... I'm in PCBeach, let me know if you need anything.
Link Posted: 9/16/2004 5:52:41 PM EDT
Damn...glad to hear you're okay...you don't fuck around with a Cat 4 or 5...next time, GTFO...but you probably knew that already...
Link Posted: 9/16/2004 5:57:53 PM EDT
Link Posted: 9/16/2004 5:59:17 PM EDT
I have no firsthand knowledge of Pennsacola except reports of the hospitals bridges being decmitated. Like I said, Pensacola beach is said to now even exist any longer. I have not slept since yesterday, so forgive my sluured writing..I just wanted give evyone a firsthand FWB/Destin report. It is bad, but could have been total devastation. I am just sorry to hear about Gulf Shores and PB.

There are miles of beach "barrier islands" that are devasted. They cannot be replaced for 100 years. It's times like these that you see how precious life really is and how small we are really against nature's fury.

Our girls home,c hurch, playgrounds, counseling facilities are all ok excpet for trees down. Most of the trailer parks near highway 98 were obliterated. Anyway...leave any messages or questions about love ones or friends and when I get back on tomorrow I'll try and answer them..Good night all.
Link Posted: 9/16/2004 7:52:03 PM EDT
No other words but - I'm sorry. Hang in there, NG.
Link Posted: 9/16/2004 7:59:59 PM EDT
Glad you made it through ok.

Link Posted: 9/16/2004 8:04:52 PM EDT
Crazy shit N-Gman.... I am so glad you guys are okay. Everything happens for a reason.
Link Posted: 9/16/2004 8:13:26 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/16/2004 8:22:55 PM EDT by ScaryGuy]

Pensacola Beach takes a battering from Ivan


Hurricane Opal's sweeping destruction of Pensacola Beach's roads and buildings in 1995 was minor compared to Ivan's wrath, Santa Rosa Island Authority general manager Monte Blews said after a brief tour of Pensacola Beach's core business district Thursday afternoon.

Wind and waves ripped the facades off of condominiums, devastated the island's utilities, and in many cases pushed the storm surge across the island to join Santa Rosa Sound, Blews said.

The line of sand dunes that was the rear guard of the $20 million beach renourishment project was destroyed completely, he said. The water level remained too high to gauge accurately how the rest of the project fared.

Roads became impassable at the White Sands Condominiums to the west and the Best Western motel to the east, limiting the tour primarily to the business district, Blews said.

Five or more 40-foot-plus sailboats lay on their sides in the median between the toll booths and Casino Beach.

After Opal, five tense days passed before residents were allowed back on the beach. There's no telling how long it could be this time, Blews said.

The Bob Sikes and Navarre Beach bridges -- the two entry points to Santa Rosa Island -- suffered significant structural damage, meaning there likely will be no access to the beach until repairs are made.

"It's going to be a challenge," Blews said. "We just don't know."

One small bright spot: The Pensacola Beach Fishing Pier was intact, although it was missing about 150 feet of breakaway planks at its end and some plank sections elsewhere, Blews said.

The Quietwater Beach Boardwalk appeared to have sustained only minimal damage, although its pier lost all decking.

Condominiums and other buildings, constructed under the toughened building codes implemented after Hurricane Andrew, seemed to fare well on balance, Blews said.

"The older and lower-lying structures were the worst hit," Blews said. "The buildings built under the newer building codes seemed to do pretty well."

One example: The "Dome Home" with its vaunted "hurricane-resistant" design survived.

According to an MSNBC news report Thursday, the home's designer and a four-member news team weathered the storm successfully.

With help from a Federal Emergency Management Agency grant, the home was built with curved walls and 800 tons of steel and concrete mast.

Its breakaway stairs washed away as designed, leaving the home 22 feet in the air, surrounded by a largely submerged island Thursday morning, the report states.

Three houses to the east were completely gone, and windows in the homes to the west were blown out.

Sigler could not be reached for comment but was quoted by MSNBC as saying: "I was amazed the way this dome home did as it was designed to do. Considering we have some wet floors and not much more -- it's just amazing."

Sigler's experience was likely the exception to the rule.

Blews, one of very few officials to have returned to the island, said he saw one roving National Guard truck but few other signs of life. He spotted only one lone man with a garden rake in hand walking toward the Bob Sikes Bridge.

"He said that he had stayed on the island," Blews said. "He indicated that it was the wrong decision."

Although search and rescue efforts were being coordinated for the beach, including for one older couple known to have stayed in a condominium complex across from Fort Pickens Gate Park during the storm , results were not available Thursday night.

Looking forward, Blews asked for everyone's patience as the recovery process gets under way.

"Last time with Opal, it was a minor event. This time it's a totally different process," Blews said. "If you and your family survived intact, count your blessings and give thanks. And then remember that whatever else occurred to you and yours in the process, no matter how bad it is, your family is alive and well. Not everyone will be as lucky."

From Pensacola NewsJournal.com:

* Hundreds of homes were destroyed in both counties; thousands more were damaged. Officials say there is not a building on Pensacola Beach that wasn't destroyed or damaged. Other than the beach areas, officials say the area hit hardest by Ivan is the southwest part of the county leading to Perdido Key, where at least three of the deaths occurred.

As a former resident of Pensacola Beach who still considers it "home", it breaks my heart to realize the destruction there...so many great days and wonderful memories just washed away. I seriously doubt that it's totally "gone" given the above, and the fact that parts of Orange Beach and Gulf Shores are still there, but I'll bet it don't resemble anything like what I remember and I'll bet it takes months to get it even remotely liveable again.

Fuck, this is depressing.

Glad to hear you're okay. Things can be replaced. People Cannot. If I can do anything for y'all just ask.


Link Posted: 9/16/2004 8:15:03 PM EDT
Glad to hear your ok and get some rest as it sounds like you'll be needing it. We have some property south of Chipley out in the woods but I think it's ok as it's about 35 miles north of Panama City. Sounds like you're prepared for the next week or so...I bet you have a lot of friends/neighbors that aren't so lucky. Prayers are with you guys down there!
Link Posted: 9/16/2004 8:21:37 PM EDT
Man, this is really depressing. My family has been going to Pensacola Beach since the sixties. I can't count the number of times I've said we should buy a vacation home there. I hope it can rebound. We've got lots of good memories there.
Link Posted: 9/16/2004 8:29:54 PM EDT
I can't get back to pensacola for a few more days ... I called the emergency number and they said there is a 24 hour curfew right now, so no one can get in at the moment. This bulging hotel bill is killing me, so I need to get back soon. I had a friend drive by my neighborhood, and he said the water was almost up to his hood ... so dammit, I'm freakin out over here.

Watching my town on the weather channel so torn up is heart breaking. The locals said to expect 3 weeks out on the power because of the extensive substation damage, so I'm gearing up for a hard few weeks .... so surreal!

I took some before pictures of my house before I left, and hopefully, it's still there when I get back ...
Link Posted: 9/16/2004 9:09:20 PM EDT
Glad to hear you made it through ok. Any info on how Hurlburt Field made out?
Link Posted: 9/16/2004 9:16:22 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Agcsy:
Glad to hear you made it through ok. Any info on how Hurlburt Field made out?

I wonder too. I wonder how the EOD school made out, I was down there during Opal and it sucked. A dorm right next to the Anchor in had its roof blown off and it landed on half of the EOD students & Cadre's cars.
Link Posted: 9/17/2004 7:39:34 PM EDT
Another addendum from information we're getting.

Hurlburt field is fine, the water came to the edge of the runway and stopped..no planes are ther some of the buildings had roof damage..nothing extremely major.

Pensacola NAS sustained "substantial" damage as did the museum...every structure had some kind of damage. We have no cable here, so most of you looking at pictures are seeing the worst damage that we cannot see.

My brother has a 3 story condo on the sound side in Navarre..the first floor was blown out but the second floor looks good through a set of powerful bincoulars. No one can go over the Navarre bridge to see their homes, condos and businesses.The Gulf of Mexico flows freely through highway 98 from FWB to Destin. There is section that is about 400 yards wide that now connects the Gulf with the Bay. Okaloosa Island had homes and beachfront condos that are gone. I mean there will people looking across the sound at where their houses use to be. Gone.

There are literallly hundreds of boats,barges and various vessels strewn for miles down 98. There are boats sitting on top of soundside homes! Ther cars from dealerships that were destroyed. Whatever could be damaged was. I have never seen anything like it. Eventhough Andrew did massive wind damage to Miami/Homestead...most of our damage was done water.

This is the highest category hurricane to hit Northwest Florida in recorded history..dating back over 100 years.

We saw Ivan, he was bad. But we're still here and will re-build our lives. BTW, this BUSH country and he will surely be heading down here again. Our homes are damaged, our hearts are heavy from the beach destruction but we will survive.

Thanks for all the prayers and encouragment...it means something to have friends in tragedy and trying times.

Thank you my Afcom brothers.
Link Posted: 9/17/2004 8:29:17 PM EDT
My parents live just across the mid-bay bridge in Niceville and all they lost when they returned was the pool cage. My father said everyone elses cage was fine, but his was gone! He also noted that a small area of community including thier neighborhood never lost power. He said he saw plenty of damage and destruction on the way back from Georgia, but was amazed at how little damage there was in his community. He said "you just can't understand the fickleness of a hurricane, but we're certainly not comlaining."

I'm traveling down to visit them in December and I wonder if I'll encounter any problems getting there. I gotta figure that major highways will be priority and hopefully repaired by then, but who knows. We even talked about visiting the museum in Pensacola, thats something I always like to do when I visit my family for vacation.

I remember being down there the Christmas after Opal and I was astonished by the damage on the beachfront along hwy 98.

I hope this isn't a tasteless request, but I'd like to see some pics of FWB and Destin if anyone takes them. I've asked my father to take pics, but I know they're not going to venture across the mid bay bridge, theyre going to sit tight in Niceville until things get somewhat back to normal (if there's such a thing after a hurricane hits you).
Link Posted: 9/18/2004 6:03:45 PM EDT

I will have plenty of pics hopefully by next week. They say power may be back by mid-week to us..there is sporadic power throughout the city.

I want to the all the electrical power peaople who came from the great state of TEXAS,Ohio,Oklahoma, Arkansas, Tenn and whoever elese I'm forgetting!! They left their families to come and help us, running 15-20 hour shifts..thank you, thank you. You do not know what it does to me to see a good ole boy from Texas wearing cowboy boots, trottin' across the street running lines. I am going to the Governors of the states who sent their reservist and other personnel to help us. Just amazing to watch the hundreds of trucks with non-Florida plates all over town.

On a side note..looters were making their rounds past couple of nights. Bad choice to do this in my neighborhood I feltl soooo good walking around with my AR the other night. I armed 2 of my SHeriff's buddies w/ a AR & AK..LEGAL!! I think any of the looter wannabes wondering around here, probably got an eye full of black rifles. I was at the Brooks bridge and looking at the National guard weapons..my guns are better!! Haha.

I hate to belabor this thread..but, dude. We just went through a Cat. 4 hurricane and I have no t.v., power or other "normal" life things.

Link Posted: 9/18/2004 6:10:07 PM EDT

Originally Posted By moneyshot:
MI hope this isn't a tasteless request, but I'd like to see some pics of FWB and Destin if anyone takes them. I've asked my father to take pics, but I know they're not going to venture across the mid bay bridge, theyre going to sit tight in Niceville until things get somewhat back to normal (if there's such a thing after a hurricane hits you).

Your folks are smart, no use wondering around sightseeing and getting in the way, wasting gasoline etc.
Link Posted: 9/18/2004 6:15:13 PM EDT
Link Posted: 9/18/2004 6:20:56 PM EDT
Man, we went to the Destin area every year. I was gonna move there. I heard my favorite fishing pier got destroyed.

My mother wants to know about the Grayton Beach cabins. Any news on them?
Link Posted: 9/18/2004 6:26:10 PM EDT
My mom just sold the last of her condo's in Gulf Shores this past Spring. The entire building, she used to own is now completely gone. Nothing at all left.
Link Posted: 9/18/2004 6:34:58 PM EDT
What is the name of the toll bridge that runs from White Point Road to Destin?

I was down there back in '99 and couldn't believe how much the place has grown..

Used to live in Blue Water Bay, and my folks still own their house, which they found out made it through the hurricane without any damage.
Link Posted: 9/19/2004 11:56:14 AM EDT
I try to answer the Destin questions, the mid-bay bridge is fine, they had debris on the foot, on both sides that has been cleared of obstrcution. destin itself did pretty well. Holiday Islae got plenty of surge damage. They will be in the billions for damage, no doubt. FWB has faired pretty well also..most of the new construction codes instituted since Opal have paid off. Especially thos newer structures on Okaloosa Island.

Eglin AFB got hit pretty bad as far as the Bay side structures...they've had some hangar damages and building wind damage on a few of their facilities. They're going to be ok. Pensacola NAS is a mess. They've got major damage.

As far as pursuing normality..Lowe's and Home Depot have become ant hills of activity, they have sent trucks non-stop full of supplies each day. The only trouble we are having is gasoline. The lines for gas have been long for 3 days now. You have to wait at least an hour + for gas. I have 65 gallons for my generator that will last me until friday. I just hope they can get the power back on by then. School is out until further notice..a lot of businesses will try and open tomorrow, pending damage assessments. It's just crazy right now because of the large area that was affected. From Panama city to Mobile, it is a disaster area trying get back on it's feet.

I do love going on neighbor hood patrols at night with my black beauties.

I got neighbors who want an AR now..go figure.

Any more questions I will behappy to answer...I am cleaned up and bored now.
Link Posted: 9/19/2004 12:05:24 PM EDT

Originally Posted By NAKED-GUNMAN:
The only trouble we are having is gasoline. The lines for gas have been long for 3 days now. You have to wait at least an hour + for gas. I have 65 gallons for my generator that will last me until friday. I just hope they can get the power back on by then.

Here on the "left coast," the 11pm news a few days ago, that power will be out for 7-14 days.
Link Posted: 9/19/2004 12:08:29 PM EDT

Originally Posted By The_Beer_Slayer:
My dad picked up my generator yesterday and i talked him into carrying my FAL back with him. He was convinced he could run off looters with his makarov and .22 magnum revolver. It took A LOT of discussion but at least i feel better with him being heavily armed down there right now.

Mike good idea, some people are not properly impressed by a little gun, but bring up a FAL, then you've got their attention. Well, better have it than not need it, than to need it and not have it.
Link Posted: 9/19/2004 12:12:21 PM EDT
Living in Texas, I have seen the relatively narrow destruction left by tornadoes. I cannot imagine a swath of destruction many dozens of miles wide and a hundred miles long. As long as your family hasn't suffered any human casualties, you are okay.

Remember, any problem that can be fixed with money isn't a real problem to begin with.
Link Posted: 9/19/2004 12:26:14 PM EDT
Power has been restored to some areas of FWB and Navarre..we are anxiously awaiting when ours will be back. The first thing the companies are doing is clearing the lines of trees, then find the breaks and transformer damage..there lies the problem. Many transformers are out and they are scurrying the country to find them. The power teams that came down as I mentioned earlier, have been extremely busy at tree removal and line clearing. It has been amazing to watcth thier quickness and speed.

There will be outage in Pensacola for weeks because of the extent of damage to their transformer and thousands of lines down. I am hoping we will be up this week or by next weekend.

The problems with looters have not been reported..many of these jackals have been coming down under the guise of having properties in or around the beach...in reality they have been stalking homes in town. We've had numerous reports of confrontations especially in the downtown area. My NH is just fine. You cannot come down unless you live here or know someone here. Curfew is at 7:00 p.m. ach night..the Sheriff's dept. and Local Polica have winked and nodded for neighbor hoods to have patrols...I believe mine is most well-armed.

There have been boats, cars and houses looted that did not have damage...jackals just come kick in the doors and haul ass. We knew that was going to happen so we organized the first night..most of the days spent cutting downed trees and hauling debris..we've had cookouts and get togethers each night. We have made some lasting realtionships through tragedies. One street over from us ,there is a Vietnamese man that was a N. Viet Nam pilot who defected in the early 70's..he is 74 yr.s old and without any close family. He had trees go down in his yard and some roof damage, I grabbed a couple of the neighborhood airmen and went yesterday to clean his yard out out, remove trees and repair his roof. He had tears in his eyes..he speaks very little english but has such a sweet disposition. He made a big pot of Vietnamese rice...it was brown, had chicken and vegetables in it..it was awesome stuff, I've never had any rice like it.

Anyway..it's the worst of times that can bring out the best in people.

There are so many stories out there...and at probably the most dangerous and life threatening part of their lives, you are there with them. Americans are wonderful people...they (we) realy are. I love this country!
Link Posted: 9/19/2004 12:42:31 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/19/2004 12:43:17 PM EDT by BillofRights]
Glad you and your made it through OK. It saddens me to think that one of the best places in the country was devestated. Good luck with rebuilding.

Link Posted: 9/19/2004 4:40:19 PM EDT
THanks for the update NG.

Keep up the good work, on all fronts...
Link Posted: 9/19/2004 5:27:27 PM EDT
I sure wish I lived closer so I could lend a hand!
Link Posted: 9/19/2004 5:28:14 PM EDT

We were in Perdido Key (10 miles east of Pensaola) just in May.

Spent several spring breaks in Destin.

Hard to believe it's all gone.
Link Posted: 9/20/2004 12:03:55 PM EDT

How bout an update.

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