BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB) — With hurricane season finally over, many residents feel a sense of relief, but not all of them. 14 months post-storm, and that anxiety is still there for many.
“Devastating”, “A force to be reckoned with”, “Transformative”
In just one word, Bay County residents describe their experience with Hurricane Michael.
Many say they’re not where they want to be, but they’re glad they’ve come this far.
“It’s been an extremely long road,” said Kym Rittman of Lynn Haven.
“Were trying to pick up the pieces and keep moving on. My husband always said ‘press on’. So that’s all you can do, just keep going,” said Bay County resident, Kalani Nooney.
Lynn Haven Family Practitioner Kym Rittman says she can see a difference in her patients since the storm.
“Insurance companies and campers and all that is very stressful and it affects our memories, and our sleep and our hormone levels and the food we want to eat and our health in so many ways. My hope as we head into this new year, that some of that will start to settle down,” said Rittman.
It’s safe to say the Panhandle has been in survival mode for the past year. A season that lasts half of the year has caused anxiety, fear, and tension for most.
“It’s like a sigh of relief, I’m happy that we can enjoy the holidays and not have to worry. Just having that anxiety of like oh my God our town can’t take another hurricane right now,” said Lynn Haven resident, Sandi Klug-Lard.
“A little relief I guess, we didn’t really know what to expect with the other ones that were coming through anyways. To see the tensions driving to and from work every day watching the gas stations lineup like crazy still,” said Nooney.
“With it being over I’m just glad no one else is having a horrible hurricane season like we’ve had the past several years,” said Klug-Lard.
“You can definitely see the anxiety is still here with everybody,” said Nooney.
“I don’t live in fear, so it’s not a fear thing, but I don’t think I have it in me to do this twice. This is something I can do once and the end of that means one more year I don’t have to worry about something else removing my roof,” said Rittman.
Many will continue rebuilding, in a process that city officials say will take years. But for now, one less worry is on their plate.