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1 Year later: Hurricane Michael far from forgotten in Blountstown

Storm hit Florida Panhandle on Oct. 10, 2018

The First Presbyterian Church was damaged by Hurricane Michael on October 13, 2018 in Blountstown, Florida. (Photo by Mark Wallheiser/Getty Images)
The First Presbyterian Church was damaged by Hurricane Michael on October 13, 2018 in Blountstown, Florida. (Photo by Mark Wallheiser/Getty Images) (Getty Images)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Thursday marks one year since Hurricane Michael's landfall in the Florida Panhandle. 

The Capitol News Service revisited the small city of Blountstown to speak with residents and city officials about how recovery has progressed.

Michael became the worst disaster to strike Blountstown on Oct. 10, 2018.

City Manager Traci Hall remembers the storm vividly.

"We watched roofs come off of local businesses out the windows. We watched the steeple blow off the Methodist church," Hall said.

Business owners Edwin and Lynn Strawn rode out the hurricane in their home.

"Watching the trees fall. We just couldn't believe it," Edwin Strawn said.

Hours later, the devastation was obvious.

"We could not see down the street in any direction," Edwin Strawn said.

But the storm united the city under a single cause.

"Everybody in this community helped everybody in this community," Lynn Strawn said.

A year later, scenes of rotting tarps on homes are all too common. It's a reminder that the recovery over the last year has been slow. Many structures were uninsured and others claims have been slow to process.

"You can drive anywhere and see blue tarps, tarps that are coming off of houses, houses that have not been repaired," Lynn Strawn said.

For the city, federal aid has also been slow.

"We've spent over $13 million on this storm and are waiting on reimbursement," Hall said.

Despite the hardships, the people of Blountstown remain optimistic.

"This community is wonderful, resilient, very supportive, and I know together we can make this happen," Hall said.

On Thursday, the city will gather for an evening of prayer. They expect a big crowd - a testament to the resilience of the community.