Evacuees come home to disaster - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Evacuees come home to disaster

September 17, 2004

Panama City - Panama City evacuees have started making their way home, but a lot has changed. Ivan's tornadoes ripped through communities knocking down most everything in their path.

Finally going home. Pete Edwards smiles, "Just across the bridge."

Pete and Janet Edwards are a bridge away from seeing what Hurricane Ivan did to their Panama City Beach home. Edwards smiles, "Finally got home, it could have much, much worse."

It could have been like the disaster seen on Thomas Drive, less than 10 minutes away from the Edward's home. Claudia Gamin says, "The tornado came by and it had a large sonic wave in it that pulled me to the couch. I was scared the house was going to implode, really."

Nature opened up living rooms to the sky and cars were no longer on four wheels. Witness, George Ivanoff, says, "It probably took ten to 15 seconds."

Ivan's powerful tornado didn't stop touching ground for two miles. It flipped boats upside down, sucked up and spit out the roof at Hamilton's Restaurant and killed a man at Marti Martin Realty.

As of Friday people were still without power. Gamin adds, "Four o'clock Wednesday and still don't have it back."

Meanwhile, Edwards will cleaning up after another hurricane, mainly tree debris. Edwards says, "When you've been here since 1927, you lose track of how many [hurricanes] you have and what their names are, I don't even remember which one this was, Ivan or E-van?"

A name others won't forget. On Friday cars and boats returned home only to find a mangled mess and a whole lot of work.

Three tornadoes touched down Wednesday during a twenty minute span in the Panama Beach area. Two people died.

posted at 5:50PM by kathryn.simmons@walb.com

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