Local gulf coast property owner weighs in on Hurricane Sally

Updated: Sep. 15, 2020 at 11:42 PM EDT
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PINE MOUNTAIN, Ga. (WTVM) - The gulf coast is bracing for impacts of Hurricane Sally as it slowly crawls to make landfall.

Nearly two years after Hurricane Michael devastated parts of the Florida panhandle, property owners are still rebuilding.

Pine Mountain resident Bill Champion has owned property on Mexico Beach, Florida for more than two decades.

“It’s a helpless feeling. You know, you just have to hope people get out and stay safe," Champion said.

Two years later, Champion’s vacation home is almost rebuilt after Hurricane Michael destroyed it in 2018.

“Our flood damage paid what they should have for the bottom floor with eight feet of water, but we had to get an attorney to take our wind insurance company to court. And sad to say, that’s happened a lot in Mexico Beach. So, that was a painful ordeal," he said.

As Hurricane Sally nears the gulf coast, Champion is hoping for the best for his property.

“We may get a three or four foot flood surge, which we’re nine feet up now. So, we’ll be okay and the winds are probably going to be hopefully 35 to 40 there. So, I think we’re okay," said Champion.

He said his main concern is residents on the gulf coast.

“They don’t have another place to go to like we did. That’s where they live and so that’s my main concern. First thing is, they hopefully get out of there and the second concern is when they come back," Champion explained.

Champion has been going to Mexico Beach with his family since he was two years old. After a rebuilding process Champion calls slow and painful, he said it’s still worth it having a vacation home in a storm zone.

“When it first happened, I went about a week trying to decide okay, I don’t want to deal with this again, but you know thinking about it, you definitely got to go back. I was down this Sunday just for the day and just looking around. It’s a special spot," he said.

Champion asks the community to keep those in the storm’s path in mind even after the storm hits. He said money and gift cards are what people need most when recovering from a major storm.

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