Brutal Sunday awaits Florida's Gulf Coast - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Brutal Sunday awaits Florida's Gulf Coast

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July 9, 2005

Panama City Beach, FL.-- Sunday will be the really nasty day on the Gulf Coat. But things are getting ugly tonight as hurricane Dennis roars toward shore.

As the sun went down, the surf came up tonight on Panama City Beach. "I went to California one time, and it was about this big," said surfer Justin Seaborn.

Bigger than normal waves provided quite treat for the few folks willing to dive in. "I've never seen it really this good to tell you the truth," said Nick Knisel, surfer.

But as the rain rolled in, most of the people left here rolled out. Just as well- there’s not much to do on the beach. Convenience stores closed, snack shacks shuttered, no stars out at the Hollywood Liquor store.

Noah's Ark Christian Ministry, well what else, they're out gathering animals.

But Dusty's oyster bar and eatery is still shuckin'. Oyster shucker Scottie O'Lear said, "Just load up on food and ride it out. It's about the only place on the beach serving food and beer just like last year during hurricane Ivan."

"We're making money, and they're not," said bartender Yvonne Coxwell. Workers at Dusty’s seem more concerned about what Hurricane Dennis may do to the oyster crop. "'95 closed our bays for four months, and we had to buy out of state oysters," said Scottie.

They seem less concerned about what Dennis may do to them. Scottie-"we're gonna keep shucking here until they tell us we have to close, and then we'll go surfing, I guess."

And if they do, they just may have some company.

Of course a lot of people from our area own property down here on the coast. And they are rightfully concerned. There at the oyster bar, we ran into a couple of guys from Albany who came down to try to protect a beachfront home. "The storm looks a little ominous," said Daniel Allen. "It looks a little scary. I'm not really too worried though. I think it will [survive]. We got all the windows boarded up. I think it's gonna be fine."

Many people did follow the mandatory evacuation order that went into effect this morning. Some of those toughing it out are still treating Dennis rather lightheartedly tonight.

That could change Sunday depending on where he slams ashore and how much of a punch he packs

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