US Gulf coast braces for another hurricane

By Tony Esposito
Wed Oct 10 2018, 15:03 PM

Marinas, boaters make preparations for dangerous category 4 storm

Hurricane Michael, described as an “extremely dangerous” category 4 storm, is expected to make landfall in the Florida Panhandle sometime on Wednesday and mandatory evacuations of certain coastal areas are creating special hardships for boaters.

Tuesday afternoon thousands of boats were being towed along evacuation routes, but the fast development of the storm left little time for many boaters to pull their vessels from local marinas.

Rock Landing Marina in Wakulla County, Florida, has removed its floating docks, preparing for a predicted 10ft storm surge. General manager Robbie Lowther told WTXL-TV that a rapid increase in sustained windspeed as early as Monday made it difficult for more than a handful of customers to remove their boats. The facility has about 150 vessels in a dry storage facility that can handle a 7ft storm surge and winds up to 150mph.

In Steinhatchee, Florida, owners of the Good Times Motel and Marina had only recently completed repairs and remodeling after it flooded with four-feet of water during Hurricane Hermine, a category 1 storm, two years ago.

The Sea Hag Marina sits right across the lake from Good Times. It also suffered flooding from Hermine, reaching about 6ft of storm surge, said owner Charlie Norwood. The storm cost Sea Hag Marina about $500,000 in damages and washed boats onto the street, he said.

Norwood said he didn’t prepare for the amount of water that came with Hurricane Hermine. “We’re not going to let that happen again,” he told WUFT-TV.

In Georgia, at Savannah Bend Marina, lessons learned from previous storms are being applied. “Right now, we’re picking everything that could fly around in the winds. We also pick up things off the ground in case it floods,” assistant manager Aaron Groves said to WJCL-TV.