PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WLOX) - Residents in the Florida Panhandle are extra anxious as they continue to recover from Hurricane Michael and keep an eye on the tropics.
Hurricane season is only a few days away and many areas near Panama City are still in ruins following the monster category 5 storm last October.
Clint Whitfield lived in Long Beach until just before Hurricane Katrina struck the Mississippi Gulf Coast. He continued to travel back and forth between Florida and Mississippi in the days following that storm.
Now, Whitfield is a principal at Breakfast Point Academy in Panama City Beach. Although that entire area is still recovering from Michael, Whitfield is once again preparing for the upcoming hurricane season, which begins June 1 and runs through Nov. 30.
"One of the biggest challenges we’re facing, not only with our students but with our staff, is the mental health and the anxiety of knowing that some have not fully recovered. And we’re on the eve of another hurricane season,” said Whitfield.
Whitfield says the last eight months since Michael tore through the area have been challenging, leaving battle scars that are still evident.
“The damage here has been a lot different than Katrina,” Whitfield added. “From where I live, if you go farther east, you see a lot of the storm surge but there was so much wind damage. The entire landscape of our community has been changed dramatically. Hurricanes change a lot of that.”
But Whitfield says despite tough times in the post-Michael world, he’s seen the community, and his school, come together.