Karen and the Oktoberfest

By David Angier

It appears that beer, not rain, will be flowing at Panama City’s 29th Annual Oktoberfest this weekend.

As of 6 a.m. Friday, Tropical Storm Karen, which was approaching the Panhandle with winds around 60 mph, was being shredded by upper-level wind shear and not expected to strengthen. The Weather Channel predicted that Karen would weaken before making landfall somewhere near Mobile, Ala.

The worst weather in Bay County was expected Sunday.

That’s good news for Oktoberfest, which starts today at 4 p.m. on Harrison Avenue downtown Panama City with more than 40 retail booths, 20 unique beers to sample, real Bavarian food, live music and entertainment. The festival runs from 4-10 p.m. Friday and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday.

For complete information, go to http://www.pcdib.com/#!vstc1=page-2/vstc0=oktoberfest.

 

Isaac Benefit at C-Level this Saturday

A hurricane can change your life forever, and no one knows that more than Shane Johns, local musician who is originally from New Orleans, Louisiana.

So this Saturday he is going to use the other powerful force of nature he has…..his music…. to help bring people together on Saturday for he victims of Hurricane Isaac.  When I saw his level of enthusiasm and compassion about his fellow Gulf Coast residents….well, I had to share it with you.

 

I ran into Shane a couple nights ago at Hook’d Pier Bar and that is where he shared about a benefit he and some fellow musicians are a part of this Saturday, September 15th at C-Level Bar and Grill of Thomas Drive in Panama City Beach.

The family friendly event will have something all ages including raffle prizes, snow cones, and a bounce house for the little ones.  The fun begins at 11 am on Saturday and doesn’t end until closing time.

There will be live, original music by Shane Johns, Faust, DJ Fatt and other guests.

Guests are encouraged to bring much needed items such as:

Non-perishable goods

Clothing

Cat and Dog food

If you are moved to help or maybe you can not go on Saturday but you would like to contribute in some way….call  Celeste Sphar 850-303-5602.

I had heard of Shane before, but didn’t know  a lot about him, so after he shared the event information for our wonderful PCB Daily readers, I asked him if he could answer a few questions and quench my curiosity.

Our little Q and A is below for those of you that are curious like me.

Q: Ok, so I know you  have been a solo artist for many years but who have you been working with lately?

A: I have been performing with a trio called Lounge Act recently and while we work with featured artists as well, our main line up is  myself, Shane Johns: Guitar,  Vocals: Jordan Faust: Vocals, Guitar: Chris Peralta: Bass and Vocal.  Jordan was born and raised in Panama City Beach.  Chris was born and raised in Miami, while I was born in Atlanta but grew up in New Orleans.  But we all have the same mission to bring original music to Panama City Beach.

Q: For  those of us that are not familiar with your music, could you tell us about the style?

A: Our style is acoustic based alternative rock and beach rap but we do not have a specific genre, our  music can go from jazz to blues to rock to rap.

Q: What inspired you to help Hurricane Isaac victims?

A: Being from New Orleans, I have close friends there and other coastal parts in Louisiana, they are like family. I was around for Katrina and Gustav and dealt with its’ aftermath.

Q: Have you done a benefit like this before?

A: Yes,  I have performed for many relief benefits in the past. I enjoy performing with the purpose (sic) of helping people in need.

Q: So refresh us again , when are you playing on Saturday?

A: We open the benefit at C-level on Thomas Drive at 11 am and then we are on again at 6 pm at Hook’ed Pier Bar at Pier Park.

 

I found Shane to be a  gracious young artist and am looking forward to seeing what he does in the future.  He performs a lot locally in Panama City Beach and the tri-state area.  You can hear his music on Reverbnation or check Faust out on Youtube.

If you can not make it to C-level this Saturday and want to help his Hurricane Isaac Relief Efforts, call Celeste Spar at 850-303-5602.

 

 

 

 

 

Hurricane Isaac Photos

I know, I know.  I asked for them more than a week ago and am just now getting up the gallery.  I’m sorry.  But. . .

Hurricane Isaac came through here with nary a detriment, much more than some beach erosion and a thankful temperament.

We asked our readers to share with us some pictures, and here are some of the best of them!  Thanks to all that shared, feel free to take claim in the comments!

Hurricane Isaac – Send Us Your Pics

Hurricane Isaac, once pointed directly at us, loomed threatening projections for days.  The local EOC (emergency operations center) was activated and press briefings were held, and many schools in the panhandle were closed for 1 day (some 2).  But Isaac brought nothing except sunshine and a little wind.  As close as Santa Rosa Beach saw a very thin but heavy band of rain for a couple hours yesterday evening, but that’s it.  Yesterday was a sunny fun day off of school and work.  They have snow days in the north, we get hurricane days. 🙂

But, there was some good wind, storm surge and some huge waves in the gulf, and we want to see pictures.

You may remember, last year with TD Lee came through, we got some excellent footage of the new M.B. Miller Pier taking the beating like a champ.

We want to see what you got, so send us your pictures to my email, jason@pcbdaily.com.

BREAKING: Tropical Storm Isaac and Panama City Beach [Updated]

Tropical Storm Isaac is strengthening and moving fast.  Projections have kept fairly consistent, although “spaghetti models” have continued to move its trajectory further west with each update. One of the refreshing things about this storm is that it seems to be moving quickly (17-20 mph), so when it hits, it’ll blow over quickly.

I’m going to use this post to keep us up to date on important information as to where she’s going, what she’s doing and what we need to do about it.

First off, I keep an eye on a couple places to make sure I know what’s going on:

Current Status

UPDATED 8-27-12 0907 cst

As this storm grows older, and moves further west, the threat level regarding wind diminishes for Panama City Beach.  However, a still serious concern is the amount of rain Tropical Storm Isaac will deliver to Northwest Florida.  Officials are estimating 12 to 14 inches of rain in an already saturated area over the next 4 days and are warning of “serious flooding.”

Tropical Storm Isaac has not yet been upgraded to a hurricane as the maximum sustained winds are still just 65 mph, however strengthening is expected to occur in the next 12 hours.  Projections are now saying it will be a category 1 (as opposed to a cat 2) when it makes landfall.

We’ve updated all the imagery on this page to reflect the most current status.

UPDATED 8-26-12 2122 cst

Tropical Storm Isaac projections continue to move it west with the “cone of uncertainty’s” eastern border shifting to Destin (previously Indian Pass).  Currently there is a hurricane warning for those between Morgan City, LA and Destin FL and a hurricane watch from east of Destin to Indian Pass.

Walton County has closed their schools Monday and Tuesday, however Bay County District Schools will be in session as normal with the exception of Deane Bozeman School, which will be closed.  Bozeman functions as a special needs shelter during inclement weather periods.

In a meeting held this evening at the Bay County Emergency Operations Center, it was released that Bay County residents should expect over a foot of rainfall between now and Thursday and that flooding will be a large part of the problems that come from Isaac.  Some are expecting winds in the 60-80 mph range with tropical storm force winds as early as 8 pm Monday evening.

As of this report, Isaac is still a Tropical Storm with maximum sustained winds of 60 mph.  Right now south and central Florida is being pelted with heavy rain and moderate wind (20-40 mph).

UPDATED 8-26-12 1236 cst (pm)

Initial projections had Isaac coming right towards us.  In fact, Highway 79 was directly at the middle of the cone.  As we’ve been watching Tropical Storm Isaac the last 36 hours, the forecast has moved it west.  Right now the eye of the storm is almost directly due north of Havana, Cuba.  Isaac is currently a tropical storm, but it is expected to be upgraded to a Category 1 in the next 12 hours.  The maximum sustained winds currently are 65 mph.

If the storm continues on its projected path, we’ll see the most dangerous side of the storm (the east side) on Tuesday.  The further west it moves, the less dramatic of an impact we’ll see.

Tropical Storm ISAAC Public Advisory Page

Summary of watches and warnings in effect…

A hurricane warning is in effect for…
* East of Morgan City Louisiana to Destin Florida…Including Metropolitan New Orleans…Lake Pontchartrain…And Lake Maurepas

A hurricane watch is in effect for…
* intracoastal city to morgan city louisiana

A tropical storm warning is in effect for…
* the florida peninsula from ocean reef southward on the east coast and from tarpon springs southward on the west coast
* florida keys…Including the dry tortugas and florida bay
* east of destin florida to the suwannee river
* intracoastal city to morgan city louisiana

A tropical storm watch is in effect for…
* east of sabine pass to west of intracoastal city louisiana

Current Satellite Image

Photo credit.

Current Spaghetti Model

Photo credit.

Current Wind Speeds

Photo Credit

What we should do to prepare.

Being a vacation rental property manager in Panama City Beach, I have a variety of concerns with a Tropical System comes our way.

Are we safe?

Right now, we are.  But this could change over the next couple hours/days.  The best thing we can do is keep an eye on the storm.  At this point, it’s not likely we’ll be hit catastrophically by a devastating storm.  The most we’ll likely see in Panama City Beach is 50 mph wind (max), rain and storm surge.  However, this should all be taken very seriously and you should take proper precautions relative to your circumstances.

Do I need to make preparations at my 35 individual condos to protect them?

My experience has shown me that all condos that are interior are rarely impacted by high winds.  The buildings cut through the wind and the closer to the building you are, the less the wind on the balcony.  I was recently at a friend’s condo (Mr. Castle!) in Tropic Winds, and his end location gave him a very neat and large balcony that has a whole corner that’s open with guard rails.  He told me he loses tables, chairs and other items with regularity.

So, if you’re on an end unit or have a wrap around balcony, pull your stuff in if the wind kicks up.  Otherwise, I wouldn’t worry too much.  BUT – don’t take my word for it, use it as advice, but keep an eye on your units!

What concerns do I have about my guests and how can I help?

We’ll be calling all our guests and letting them know what we know, and telling them where they can go to look for more information.  Our rental policy states that if we have a mandatory evacuation, then we’ll refund their rental monies for the nights they didn’t get to stay with us.

It’s common for people to get upset or concerned when tropical systems come through, but generally we are all pretty safe and there is usually nothing to worry about (again, opinion).

What should we do should conditions get worse?

We need to keep an eye on the system, and if it gets worse, we’ll need to take the appropriate action based on the severity of the situation.  The best thing we can do is keep an eye on our local warnings issues to us by NOAA (above in the ‘warnings’ section).  If we’re issued evacuation orders, we need to follow the direction of local authorities.

More about the hurricane rating system

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.

  • Tropical Depression: 0 – 38 mph wind speeds
  • Tropical Storm: 38 – 73 mph wind speeds
  • Category 1 Hurricane: 74 – 95 mph wind speeds
  • Category 2 Hurricane: 96 – 110 mph wind speeds
  • Category 3 Hurricane: 111 – 130 mph wind speeds
  • Category 4 Hurricane: 131 – 155 mph wind speeds
  • Category 5 Hurricane: 156 mph and greater wind speeds

Forecast model image credit. 

BREAKING: Tropical Storm Debby and Panama City Beach [Updated]

If you’ve been to the beach in the last 24 hours, you’ve seen the increase in wave activity and noticed the double red flags.  Tropical Storm Debby is churning in the Gulf right now and is giving forecasters little hint as to where she’s going.

I’m going to use this post to keep us up to date on important information as to where she’s going, what she’s doing and what we need to do about it.

First off, I keep an eye on a couple places to make sure I know what’s going on:

Current Status

UPDATED 6-26-12 1940 cst

Whew!  That was a close one.  Initial reports had Tropical Storm Debby Downer lingering until Friday of this week.  But with a little westerly wind the storm moved to the east and off of us yesterday afternoon allowing the sun to peek out for a bit before sunset.

Today was beautiful with nary a sign of the previous day’s storm that threatened vacations all up and down the beach.  I’ve found a few isolated signs of wind damage and a few lingering puddles, but overall our area fared well, and we can get back to enjoying the beach.

The water is still brownish looking and I personally am predicting it to return to the normal emerald green by week’s end just in time for the July 4th week!

UPDATED 6-25-12 1515 cst

Things have changed quite a bit since yesterday evening.  The projection has changed, the storm’s begun to move and it’s picked up speed!  Currently it’s moving northeast at 5 mph and projections are putting it towards the coast of Cedar Key by Wednesday morning.  Hopefully the rain will be gone from here by then.  Currently the wind speed is around 45 mph and it’s traveling at 5 mph.

One of the things that has been extremely challenging here is the direction in which the rain is coming – from the northeast.  The rain has been blowing in sideways hitting the back side of condominium buildings and causing front doors to leak all up and down the beach.

If you’ve been out to the beach, you’ll notice things have calmed down a lot.  While double red flags are still flying (and waters are NOT SAFE to enter), the surf looks much more calm.

Around town, there are visible signs of wind damage in some areas, although light, and there still remains a Tropical Storm Warning from Destin to Englewood Florida.  Areas west of there have been cleared.

AGAIN – keep an eye on the links above as they’ll have up to the minute updates on what this thing is doing.

  • Location: The eye is 125 miles from Panama City Beach, lat/long – 28.4, -85.8
  • Wind Speed: 45 mph
  • Direction: Heading northeast at 5 mph
  • Bay County Warnings: [Tropical Storm Warning] from Destin to Englewood Florida. 
Current Satellite Image

From NOAA

What we should do to prepare.

Being a vacation rental property manager in Panama City Beach, I have a variety of concerns with a Tropical System comes our way.

Are we safe?

Right now, we are.  But this could change over the next couple hours/days.  The best thing we can do is keep an eye on the storm.  At this point, it’s not likely we’ll be hit catastrophically by a devastating storm.  The most we’ll likely see in Panama City Beach is 50 mph wind (max), rain and storm surge.

Do I need to make preparations at my 35 individual condos to protect them?

My experience has shown me that all condos that are interior are rarely impacted by high winds.  The buildings cut through the wind and the closer to the building you are, the less the wind on the balcony.  I was recently at a friend’s condo (Mr. Castle!) in Tropic Winds, and his end location gave him a very neat and large balcony that has a whole corner that’s open with guard rails.  He told me he loses tables, chairs and other items with regularity.

So, if you’re on an end unit or have a wrap around balcony, pull your stuff in if the wind kicks up.  Otherwise, I wouldn’t worry too much.  BUT – don’t take my word for it, use it as advice, but keep an eye on your units!

What concerns do I have about my guests and how can I help?

We’ll be calling all our guests and letting them know what we know, and telling them where they can go to look for more information.  Our rental policy states that if we have a mandatory evacuation, then we’ll refund their rental monies for the nights they didn’t get to stay with us.

It’s common for people to get upset or concerned when tropical systems come through, but generally we are all pretty safe and there is usually nothing to worry about.

What should we do should conditions get worse?

We need to keep an eye on the system, and if it gets worse, we’ll need to take the appropriate action based on the severity of the situation.  The best thing we can do is keep an eye on our local warnings issues to us by NOAA (above in the ‘warnings’ section).

More about the hurricane rating system

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.

  • Tropical Depression: 0 – 38 mph wind speeds
  • Tropical Storm: 38 – 73 mph wind speeds
  • Category 1 Hurricane: 74 – 95 mph wind speeds
  • Category 2 Hurricane: 96 – 110 mph wind speeds
  • Category 3 Hurricane: 111 – 130 mph wind speeds
  • Category 4 Hurricane: 131 – 155 mph wind speeds
  • Category 5 Hurricane: 156 mph and greater wind speeds

Photo Credit

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.