Florida Panhandle takes Ivan's worst - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Florida Panhandle takes Ivan's worst

September 21, 2004
by Eric Flack

Gulf Shores, Florida-- Today, we are getting some of the first pictures out of the Gulf Shores area. In Orange Beach, the city estimates 60 percent of homes and 90 percent of buildings are damaged along the beach.

The building inspector hasn't had time to complete his survey of the rest of the area. Many people who live in Orange Beach were allowed to return home for the first time Tuesday.

In Orange Beach, the beach is about all that looks the same. But pictures only tell part of the story. “It's the worst we've seen," says storm victim Don Cale. "Fifty percent worse than all the other storms.”

The furniture in Rodney Miller's backyard isn't his. "That couch in the swamp came from the condos on the beach. That's about a quarter mile away."

The boat in Cindy Lacy's front yard isn't hers. “It's a mess. It’s a real mess.” It floated here from a marina about a mile away.

And a lot of what wasn't tossed around, was torn apart. The worst of it along the beach. “And what's supposed to be there. "There were seven houses there,” said one survivor.

Along the beach front properties the damage was widespread, but sporadic. One condo was ripped up, but the one next to it wasn't badly damaged at all. But police won't allow the general public back in until FEMA checks out all the buildings to make sure they are all safe, and that could take weeks.

It goes for getting all the power back on. “There's no way to know. The damage is so widespread,” said utility worker Brad Garcia.

They will rebuild one pole at a time, one house at a time, but it will be a long time until orange beach is over Ivan. The mayor of Orange Beach is asking anyone with coastal property to be patient.

He says they city's top priority is getting year round residents back into their homes. After that, they will focus on helping seasonal residents.

posted at 3:20PM by dave.miller@walb.com