Two weeks ago the fall season launched with warm temperatures but lovely weather. October is jam-packed with great outdoor events each year and we eagerly look forward to a time when summer tourists return home and the pace eases a bit.

But, then…we started to get a warning that there was “something” to watch down near the Mexican Yucatan.

It wasn’t long before the forecasters began sounding the alarm that “this one” could develop quickly.

The veterans among us kept an absent eye on it. Hurricane supplies had been purchased earlier in the season (and eaten in some cases) and some folks had to scramble for more.

As the track edged closer to the panhandle and the storm hadn’t shifted we all got nervous. Truly, no one wishes anything bad on neighboring counties and after seeing the devastation wrought by Hurricane Michael I can honestly say we all were in shock.

Ground zero was tiny Mexico Beach, a quintessential old beach town located among a cluster of small beaches in an area known as the “Forgotten Coast.” The images are heartbreaking. Areas to the east of the eye were hardest hit as Hurricane Michael came onshore with 150 mph winds as a Category 4 storm. Inland it ravaged countless small communities and continued northward as a Cat 3 far into Georgia wreaking havoc along the way.

If you want to help, faith-based organizations are a great place to start. The Good News United Methodist Church in Santa Rosa Beach has an Amazon link where you can purchase supplies to be delivered to the church Others include the American Red Cross and Waterfront Rescue Mission. Many civic organizations also taking donations of supplies and money.

As we move farther into the season, more direct volunteer efforts will be needed. Stay tuned. We will put together opportunities as they arise.

I hope you are looking forward to your visit! Panama City Beach and other areas saw some effects from the storm but are quickly cleaning up and getting back up to speed.

As always, we appreciate you all.

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Best to you and yours.

Karen Harrell