Hurricane Category Rating System

Every year hurricane season sneaks up on us and then leaves us in November with nary an umbrella blown over.  Don’t get me wrong, we’ve had some exciting times here on the beach, but usually amid doom and gloom predictions, we usually leave the year fairly uneventful.  Of course, we had some tropical storm activity last year and 2003, 2004 and 2005 was rather active – but it’s been relatively slow the past couple years.  Will we have a slow year this year as well?  Some believe not since we had such a warm winter.

The Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale is a 1-5 rating based on the hurricane’s present intensity. This is used to give an estimate of the potential property damage and flooding expected along the coast from a hurricane landfall. Wind speed is the determining factor in the scale, as storm surge values are highly dependent on the slope of the continental shelf and the shape of the coastline, in the landfall region. Note that all winds are using the U.S. 1-minute average.

Category One Hurricane

Winds 74-95 mph (64-82 kt or 119-153 km/hr). Storm surge generally 4-5 ft above normal. No real damage to building structures. Damage primarily to unanchored mobile homes, shrubbery, and trees. Some damage to poorly constructed signs. Also, some coastal road flooding and minor pier damage. Hurricane Lili of 2002 made landfall on the Louisiana coast as a Category One hurricane. Hurricane Gaston of 2004 was a Category One hurricane that made landfall along the central South Carolina coast.

Category Two Hurricane

Winds 96-110 mph (83-95 kt or 154-177 km/hr). Storm surge generally 6-8 feet above normal. Some roofing material, door, and window damage of buildings. Considerable damage to shrubbery and trees with some trees blown down. Considerable damage to mobile homes, poorly constructed signs, and piers. Coastal and low-lying escape routes flood 2-4 hours before arrival of the hurricane center. Small craft in unprotected anchorages break moorings. Hurricane Frances of 2004 made landfall over the southern end of Hutchinson Island, Florida as a Category Two hurricane. Hurricane Isabel of 2003 made landfall near Drum Inlet on the Outer Banks of North Carolina as a Category 2 hurricane.

Category Three Hurricane

Winds 111-130 mph (96-113 kt or 178-209 km/hr). Storm surge generally 9-12 ft above normal. Some structural damage to small residences and utility buildings with a minor amount of curtainwall failures. Damage to shrubbery and trees with foliage blown off trees and large trees blown down. Mobile homes and poorly constructed signs are destroyed. Low-lying escape routes are cut by rising water 3-5 hours before arrival of the center of the hurricane. Flooding near the coast destroys smaller structures with larger structures damaged by battering from floating debris. Terrain continuously lower than 5 ft above mean sea level may be flooded inland 8 miles (13 km) or more. Evacuation of low-lying residences with several blocks of the shoreline may be required. Hurricanes Jeanne and Ivan of 2004 were Category Three hurricanes when they made landfall in Florida and in Alabama, respectively.

Category Four Hurricane

Winds 131-155 mph (114-135 kt or 210-249 km/hr). Storm surge generally 13-18 ft above normal. More extensive curtainwall failures with some complete roof structure failures on small residences. Shrubs, trees, and all signs are blown down. Complete destruction of mobile homes. Extensive damage to doors and windows. Low-lying escape routes may be cut by rising water 3-5 hours before arrival of the center of the hurricane. Major damage to lower floors of structures near the shore. Terrain lower than 10 ft above sea level may be flooded requiring massive evacuation of residential areas as far inland as 6 miles (10 km). Hurricane Charley of 2004 was a Category Four hurricane made landfall in Charlotte County, Florida with winds of 150 mph. Hurricane Dennis (pdf) of 2005 struck the island of Cuba as a Category Four hurricane.

Category Five Hurricane

Winds greater than 155 mph (135 kt or 249 km/hr). Storm surge generally greater than 18 ft above normal. Complete roof failure on many residences and industrial buildings. Some complete building failures with small utility buildings blown over or away. All shrubs, trees, and signs blown down. Complete destruction of mobile homes. Severe and extensive window and door damage. Low-lying escape routes are cut by rising water 3-5 hours before arrival of the center of the hurricane. Major damage to lower floors of all structures located less than 15 ft above sea level and within 500 yards of the shoreline. Massive evacuation of residential areas on low ground within 5-10 miles (8-16 km) of the shoreline may be required. Only 3 Category Five Hurricanes have made landfall in the United States since records began: The Labor Day Hurricane of 1935, Hurricane Camille (1969), and Hurricane Andrew in August, 1992. The 1935 Labor Day Hurricane struck the Florida Keys with a minimum pressure of 892 mb–the lowest pressure ever observed in the United States. Hurricane Camille struck the Mississippi Gulf Coast causing a 25-foot storm surge, which inundated Pass Christian. Hurricane Katrina (pdf), a category 5 storm over the Gulf of Mexico, was still responsible for at least 81 billion dollars of property damage when it struck the U.S. Gulf Coast as a category 3. It is by far the costliest hurricane to ever strike the United States. In addition, Hurricane Wilma (pdf) of 2005 was a Category Five hurricane at peak intensity and is the strongest Atlantic tropical cyclone on record with a minimum pressure of 882 mb.

What is June Grass?

Almost every single summer, the beach in Panama City Beach is accompanied by a combination of green slimy stuff and chunks of prickly patches with tiny air bubbles.  Collectively, this is commonly referred to as June Grass, even though the two separate materials are completely different. “June Grass” certainly isn’t a scientific term and I never could seem to come up with when the term usage began.  Some will say it is specific to the green algae, others the sargassum, and still others will use the term to refer to both. Although they both seem to come to shore around the same time, they are different.  And one of them actually makes quite a journey to make it here.

Sargassum

Sargassum is a patchy material that consists of a leafy bunch interspersed with tiny air sacs.  The air sacs resemble small grapes and keep it afloat.  The material serves as a mobile home, of sorts, for all sorts of marine life.  The actual name is of Portuguese decent. Sargassum actually comes from the Sargasso sea, which is found in the north Atlantic.  It grows in very large, thick bunches and is broken apart by current and waves.  The broken apart pieces then multiply and grow on their own as they travel wherever the current takes them.  Sargassum can be found all along the east and gulf coast, and is a member of the brown algae family.

Green Algae

The very small, slimy green stuff we find floating in our waters is much different then sargassum in consistency.  This material makes the water seem soupy and the matter can infiltrate the smallest crack or crevice on our person.  It’s been joked about, used for mock costumes, and often found heavily caked on the shoreline in some areas.  All I can find out about the stuff is that it grows somewhere offshore and is prevalent in warmer waters.  During periods of rain, it can clear up a bit.

The presence of either material tends to be a constant topic of complaint on the beach during the summer months.  I’ve heard of people claiming their whole vacation was ruined from it.  Contrary, I’ve also heard some say they’ve experienced it almost every year they’ve vacationed here and have come to expect it.

In the past, countless blamed it on the oil spill – of course, it was as natural that year as it has been in every other year.  Some have claimed it’s worse now than it’s ever been, yet many others can recall its prevalence in quantity fluctuates from year to year and has for as long as they can remember.

I for one, can remember in 2002 when my cousin, Eric Koertge, came to town and the stuff was super heavy and very unenjoyable.  It was in our short pockets, leg hair, what little chest hair I have and caked on my skin – gross!  But I can remember years when I hardly noticed it!

What are your thoughts on this green and sometimes slimy stuff?

New Walmart Construction Update 1

The new Walmart going in next to Pier Park is heavy underway and great progress can be seen on daily basis.  If you remember the parcel where Walmart will be, you’ll probably remember it was largely vacant but bordered with tree cover.  The tree cover was heavy enough so that you couldn’t really see around the corner at the Powell Adams and Back Beach Road intersection.  Well, not so now!

I’ll be the first to admit, the construction of a new Walmart in Panama City Beach isn’t exactly a riveting sight to be seen.  It’s sort of like watching grass grow during the early phases since a lot of the work being done for the first half of the construction tenure is ground work.  But as things start moving, we’ll show you more pix – and we hope that as we follow the timeline, the progress will seem at least a little interesting.  😉

Aerial Google Map of what it was.

This was captured today and shows an image of what the property looked like before any construction was begun.  The parking lot in the upper left corner belongs to Target, the neighborhood on the right of the image is Summerwood with Palmetto Trace being right across the street (Back Beach Road) from there.

Taken from the NE, looking SW

This image was taken from the south side of Back Beach Road, looking towards the south (technically), but facing a little west.  The condo on the right in the image is Calypso with Aqua on the left.  You can see a little smidge of Target on the far right middle of the image.  This picture is likely looking over where an outparcel will be.

Looking at NW corner of the Walmart parcel

This image was taken to show how clearly you can now see around this corner.  Before there was heavy tree covering hear and it was difficult to see around the corner.  Now you can see straight across.  I’m not one for cutting down a bunch of trees, but it is nice to be able to see through this intersection much more clearly now.

Another view of the NW corner of the Walmart parcel

This view shows you how clear that corner is now.  When construction is complete, this particular intersection will be signalized and should be much safer than it now is.

View from the NW looking SE

In this image, we’re looking from the NW corner of the Walmart parcel next to Pier Park.  The image is facing the southeast.  The building you see in the very middle (next to the truck) is Legacy by the Sea, the you have Origin at Seahaven, Sunrise Beach then Emerald Beach Resort.  You can see the vastness of the property in this image and just how much land has been cleared.  We are likely looking over an outparcel in this shot.

The widened view down Powell Adams

 

As discussed, along with a new Walmart, Panama City Beach is getting an advanced treatment to Powell Adams Road that the CRA wouldn’t be able to perform for years.  We’ll have an update on the completion of the South Thomas Drive CRA in a couple days, which will give you an idea of how this stretch of road will look and feel.  For someone who just traveled the newly improved South Thomas Drive yesterday, we’ll be in for a real treat here.  This shot shows the preparation for making the widening provisions.

 Construction entrance to the project

Maybe this is the norm nowadays, but I thought this was particularly cool.  They have a “zone” where exiting vehicles are washed while resting on a bed of large rocks to help minimize the amount of soil that exits the property and is deposited on the roadways.

Looking NE from the SW

This shot looks form the southwest looking towards the northeast.  The water was actually from the legacy pond that has been formed over the years this property sat vacant.  I’m not sure whether this will be used as a retention pond or if it will be filled in.  This is the back part of the parcel.

 

Anchorage Childrens Home Anchors Families in our Area

 

 

In a little over a week,  Anchorage Children’s Home will host The First Annual Anchors Away 6k and Family Fun Run  at Panama City Beach Conservation Park, or “Gayle’s Trails” as we call it.

Though formal sponsorship opportunities have closed, Anchorage is still looking for businesses and individuals that want to contribute to runner’s grab bags.

Each participant will receive a race T-shirt, along with a bag full of goodies from local vendors.  If you would like to donate an item for the grab bags whether it’s a restaurant coupon or a koozie,  please contact Brooke at 850 763 7102.

 

If you are not a business, but a resident that would like to enjoy the sunshine on race day, Anchorage encourages you to come out and cheer on your friends if you are not participating yourself.  Or if you want, you can sign up as late as right before the race on Saturday, June 23rd.  The race doesn’t start until 8 am, but get there earlier, around 630 am and you can still participate. And don’t forget, the family fun run is super relaxed, so bring your stroller and your puppy….it is for the WHOLE family, four legs and all.

If you are unable to come this year, Anchorage Children’s Home would appreciate your support in other ways.  Development director, Brooke Bullard explained to me that although eventually they would like this event to be a viable fundraising vehicle, that is not their sole intent.

“We do special events like this, not for fundraising, but for friend-raising.

She added, “because the more friends we have the more people can benefit from our programs and services in our community. “

And that community she is speaking of???? Well, it is a lot bigger than you think.  I did not realize how long and deep and wide it was until I sat down and visited with Brooke this Monday afternoon.

Anchorage Children’s Home serves our 6 county area, more specifically: Bay, Gulf, Jackson, Calhoun, Washington, and Holmes

 

Anchorage works to empower their residents with life skills they need
Computer room for residents to learn basic skills and work on school work

 

A lot of PCB residents do not realize that two of their very successful programs Hannah’s house and The Bridge Transitional Living Program are located on Panama City Beach.  Brooke shared proudly with me, “we just had three kids from that program graduate high school last week.”   Brooke like many involved in the organization, believe that the participants just need the right resources to be empowered and guided to make the choices they need to improve their situation.  “We are a hand UP, not a hand OUT”, Brooke continued.  And sometimes that “hand up” is all they need to see the light at the end of the tunnel and get that cap and gown.

A couple weeks ago when I told you about the event they were having I told you that Anchorage served homelesss and at risk youth in our area, but what does that even mean?

I have to be honest, until I went to Anchorage this past week, I myself had a very cloudy understanding.  But basically, Anchorage is about giving kids who have now where else to go, a safe place to go.  It is a 24 hour shelter that is often the transitional home when children are removed from their homes because of a dangerous situation or while they are waiting to be place with a foster family, which this area is short on, by the way.

But more than a shelter, they provide FREE services, that many families do not even know about, including counseling and other intervention services for parents who are having a hard time with their teenager’s defiant, truant, other wise risky behavior.

But their biggest means to success outside of their Mobile Outreach program, counseling programs, Hidle House,  Hannah’s House, The Bridge….. YOU.

While these program are funded by grants, every year they come up for renewal.  Without the help of area residents and friends, through their Annual Giving Program, they are in danger of being cut every year.  Anchorage just started a new facebook page, while you are on Pinterest reading the funny ecards and checking out skinny recipes…..why not throw a “like’ their way?

But even better….turn your “like” into a “love”…….schedule a tour of one of their facilities with a friend or your co-workers so you can see first hand the amazing strides this organziation has taken since its inception.  If you would like to schedule a tour or make a donation you can call Brooke at  850 763 7102 or you can also visit their website.  If you would like to make “in kind” donation, they also would appreciate that.

Items needed right now:

Travel Sized Toiletries (save your your bottles while travelling!)

Non Perishable food times for the Mobile Out Reach team (pop up lids, granola bars, water bottles, etc)

Socks, flip fops, undergarments especially for girls/young women (size 3 to 5)

Now I know at least a few of you have a couple of those mini Shampoos from the Holiday Inn or The Marriott in your bathroom drawer somewhere, right?

Beachy Beach Real Estate on the West End of Panama City Beach ( Just East of Publix) will be setting up a collection box for you to bring some of these donation items and will transport them to Anchorage on your behalf.  If your heart moves you to help this wonderful organization in another way….please call Brooke Bullard, Developement Director right away at 850 763 7102 or shoot her an email: bbullard@anchoragechildrenshome.org

No gift, given with GREAT love, is too small.

 

Until then….see you June 23rd at Gayle’s Trails!

 

 

 

Wicked Good Food at the Wicked Wheel

There’s a new restaurant in town, but it’s ran by some of the most seasoned dining veterans in Panama City Beach.  Having been in the works for nearly 2 years, The Wicked Wheel Bar and Grill opened in April and is serving “the best fried chicken and the biggest burgers on the beach.”

“The theme itself and the vision had been life long. The actual getting-it-custom takes time, and we were not willing to sacrifice quality to get it open any sooner,” said Jared Knetzer of The Wicked Wheel.

The Wicked Wheel is owned and operated by the same that own Pineapple Willy’s – the Buskell family. They are located right on Middle Beach Road (Hutchison) a few doors down (to the west) from Walmart and right across from Miracle Strip Loop.  There used to be a Tony Roma’s there, years ago.

Their fried chicken.

I’ll be honest, I’m not much of a fried chicken guy.  Not that I don’t like that funky fowl – quite the opposite.  I’m just not a traditional fried chicken guy.  But, I had to try what was being touted as “the best fried chicken on the beach.”  I ordered the 3 pc Classic Original chicken meal and added a Custom Spicy drumstick to test it out.

When they  brought out my order, I was greeted with an elegant presentation of fried chicken, mashed potatoes with gravy and seasoned green beans.  The chicken skin seemed to me to be perfectly crunchy yet flakey and the meat was juicy, tender and full of flavor.  I had ranch to supplement, but I didn’t need it.

The Spicy was hot, but not too hot.  It was good, had zing and will be my pick next time, if I don’t get one of their Classic Burnout Burgers.

The famous motorcycle seat bar.

Maybe “famous” is stretching it a little, but besides their food, it’s all anyone talks about – so maybe not.  The outside is accented with motorcycles and dedicated biker parking, but when you walk inside, you’re found with a whole motif that revolves around “custom cars, custom bikes, and all things cool,” said Knetzer.

“We have some motorcycles as seats at the bar [and]. . . If you look around you will notice everything from the 27 Ford T-Bucket hanging on the wall, the ‘hot rod hostess station’ which is made from a tool box, several car related signs through out, track lights made out of Fram oil filters, vintage car license plates, as well as art displayed throughout the restaurant,” added Knetzer.

The menu.

If you ask their wait staff what’s popular, they’ll tell you the chicken and their burgers.

Their Classic, Cheese and Bacon Cheese Burnout Burger is dressed in lettuce, tomato, onions and pickles and a variety of cheeses.

Their Custom Burnout Burgers:

Leadsled – ham, American cheese and bacon

Flame Thrower – pepperjack cheese, jalapeños, grilled onions, and peppers

Lowrider – white nacho cheese, chili, and pico de gallo

Sportster – cheddar cheese, grilled onions, and BBQ sauce

Shovelhead – provolone cheese, grilled mushrooms, and onions

Roadrunner – chicken breast and choice of cheese

And of course, they have a Challenger – which if you can finish (sides and all) in 14 minutes, you’ll get your picture on the wall and a free Challenger t-shirt.  What are you eating?  A Double Classic Burnout Burger with cheese.

You can view their entire menu here.

PCB Plaza Brings Private Office Space to the Small Business Owner

One of the things Panama City Beach has been lacking for a while is a cozy place for the super-small business (3 employees or less) to call home.  The concept seems simple really, find a building, build some walls and rent out small private offices that include power and internet in the rent.  Add flexible lease terms and a convenient location and you have a winner.

I’ve been working for myself for a long time and the need for a small, private place to work is something that has been hard to fill.  Spending $800+ per month for a whole office in which much of the space will go unused is just silly.  So you can see why the idea of a shared workspace works for me.

Yes, both PCBDaily and Panama City Beach Luxury Properties have a new home.  🙂  That’s our office up above.

The concept.

The whole idea revolves around the fact that people that own small businesses need a place to work but can’t afford to spend more than a couple hundred dollars.  I’ve worked from home for a long time, but I’ve always had the need to meet clients, get away from the kids 🙂 , and store work crap.

The idea of a shared workspace isn’t new, though.  Called Coworking, the concept has cropped up all over the world, centered around the creative industry since many of the “self-employed” in that industry are freelancers on a budget.

Although I wouldn’t call what’s at PCB Plaza Coworking, per se, it’s certainly an opportunity to have some private office space for a budget price.

Office for rent.

Originally there were about 8 spaces for rent there, but they’re currently expanding and building out a half dozen more spaces for rent.  The private offices are a variety of 10×10′ and 10×20′ spaces.  Many of them have outside doors and the rest have a shared hallway and common entry.

Pricing starts at $325 per month and includes power, internet, access to community kitchen and use of other common areas.

You can learn more about PCB Plaza on their website or just call Judy at 850-234-3629.  Make sure you tell her you read about it on PCBDaily.com!

Location

PCB Plaza is located right on Back Beach Road, across from the Lyndell Shopping Plaza – actually, it’s directly across from the Centennial Bank on the end of the plaza.  It’s an L shaped building that’s home to the Dream Day Spa.

The physical address is:

12118 Panama City Beach Parkway, PCB

Current list of tenants.

Right now there is a wide variety of business types in the “plaza” ranging from hair stylists, a car dealer, real estate agent, us :), a day spa and more.  This particular type of working arrangement works really well for anyone that needs a small office space that private, quiet and centrally located.

Panama City Beach Luxury Properties and PCBDaily.com

You know who we are, but we occupy three spaces that have been combined into one long space.  We are suite number 10 and 11 and we house our luxury vacation rental company and PCBDaily.com out of here.

Location: Suite 10/11

Click here to visit our website.

Lacey Belt, Coastal Concepts Realty

Lacey is a licensed Florida Realtor with Coastal Concepts Realty, whose other office is in Lynn Haven.  They specialize in residential real estate sales including single family homes, condos, townhomes,  and mobile homes.  They have a knowledge and understanding of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae foreclosures, short sales, and regular sales!

Click here to visit her website.

Dream Day Spa

Dream Day Spa is a luxury spa in Panama City Beach that provides affordable skin care and pampering spa treatments. They offer massages, facials and more. They are in the end suite and are here Monday through Friday 10 am to 6 pm.

Location: End suite on the west side.

Click here to visit their website.

Randee Baker, Hair Stylist

Randee offers a variety of salon services ranging from color to cuts to customized styles.  She offers a full range of foils, multi-dimensional coloring, designer cuts, and more.

Location: Suite 4

Randee is available by appointment only by calling 850-774-7323

Amber Hagan, Hair Stylist

Amber provides a salon experience where the client can enjoy personalized styles to fit his or her style and taste.  She uses top of the line hair colors, and through years of experience can develop the perfect color for you. She specializes in foils, multi-dimensional coloring, designer cuts, and waxing for men and women.

Location: Suite 7

Amber is available by appointment only by calling 850-691-3376

Beach Boys Shuttle

Beach Boys Shuttle provides exceptional customer service. Our fleet of shuttles guarantees that you will travel with safety and convenience in Panama City Beach and surrounding areas. Our knowledgeable drivers are prompt and courteous. Also ask us about special airport discounts.

Location: Suite 8

Click here to visit their website, or call 850-238-5472.

JC’s Custom Services, Permanent Cosmetic Makeup

JC’s offers quality permanent cosmetics and scar camouflaging.  Some of the things he can do include eyeliner, eyebrows, lipliner, blush, eye shadow, and lip color. He offers discounts on multiple procedures and a 25% discount to all military, government, city, and county workers.

They are available by appointment by calling 850-890-4686