Coastal Dixie County dodges bullet with Hurricane Michael

By  | 

HORSESHOE BEACH, Fla. (WCJB) -- Dixie County crews were up bright and early to assess damage from Hurricane Michael along the Nature Coast after Hurricane Michael made landfall in the Panhandle Wednesday.

Storm surge of 9-12 feet was expected in communities on the Dixie coast like Horseshoe Beach. A mandatory evacuation order was issued for residents, with many leaving for higher ground.

"You never know what to expect as far as how high it could possibly get," said Lieutenant Mandy Lemmermen with Dixie County Emergency Services. "So we just urged everybody, we gave them plenty of time."

TV20 traveled to Horseshoe Beach Tuesday to talk with residents as they were preparing to evacuate. That's where we met Hope Reinke.

On Tuesday, Reinke was packing her belongings and remembering the damage done to her home when Hurricane Hermine brought seven feet of storm surge water into the city in 2016.

When we found her again Thursday, she was breathing a sigh of relief.

"When you come back down and see that it [the damage] is minimal, you're like 'We dodged a bullet!'," Reinke said. "Thank you Lord and clean-up now."

Lemmermen said the coastal communities in Dixie County fared well, with power staying on and approximately five feet of storm surge water receding throughout the day Thursday.

"All major debris the county will pick up along the roadway, that way the roads are nice and clear for people to get in," Lemmermen said. "They can start looking at their homes, cleaning up and stuff."

Emergency Services advised coastal residents to get to higher ground early, and to move their campers, RVs and propane tanks.

"The people of the coastal communities just did a fantastic job of just doing that," Lemmermen said.

Reinke said both evacuating and rebuilding have been a community effort.

"We just, we joined together and that's how it should be," Reinke said. "Brothers and sisters helping each other."