Hurricane Michael FAQ

Is Bay County under any Watches or Warnings?  

A Hurricane Warning is in effect for the Alabama-Florida border to Suwannee River, Florida. A Storm Surge Watch is in effect for Navarre Florida to Anna Maria Island Florida. We encourage you to continue to monitor your local media, the National Weather Service, and Bay County social media.    

A Hurricane Watch means that hurricane conditions are possible within the watch area.  A watch is typically issued 48 hours before the anticipated first occurrence of tropical-storm-force winds, conditions that make outside preparations difficult or dangerous.    

A Storm Surge Watch means there is a possibility of life-threatening inundation from rising water moving inland from the coastline in the indicated locations during the next 48 hours.    

What are the anticipated effects of this storm?    

Hurricane conditions are probable within the Hurricane Warning area along the U.S. Gulf Coast by Wednesday, with tropical storm conditions possible by Tuesday night or early Wednesday.  Tropical storm conditions are probable within the Tropical Storm Warning area by Tuesday night or early Wednesday.    

Are Bay County schools closed?

Bay County schools are closed Tuesday through Thursday due to Hurricane Michael.

Will Bay County close bridges?  

Bridges are open at this time, with the exception of CR 2297, which is closed for construction. Current forecasts place sustained 40-mph winds in Bay County. The Florida Highway Patrol closes bridges at sustained 40-mph wind speeds. Conditions can change at a moment’s notice giving little to no warning that the bridge will close. Bridges will remain open as long as conditions are safe.  

At what wind speed are bridges closed?  

Bridge closures will be determined by law enforcement and will take place when conditions are deemed unsafe. When tropical storm winds arrive in Bay County, everyone should be off the roads and sheltered in place. Bridges will remain open as long as conditions are safe.

What kind of warning can I get for bridge closings?    

The determination for closure of bridges is made by the Florida Department of Transportation, Florida Highway Patrol, and local law enforcement based on current conditions. Little to no warning could be issued due to the fast-changing nature of weather systems. We recommend that all citizens and visitors sign up for AlertBay at for emergency notifications. An AlertBay notification will be issued if any major Bay County bridges close due to high winds.

Will the direction of lanes change for evacuations?

According to Florida Highway Patrol, all roads will continue to operate as normal; roads will not be changed to one direction.

We are planning on coming into the area for vacation. Should we still come?    

Bay County cannot make that decision for you.  This situation is subject to change at a moment’s notice. Continue to monitor news media, the National Weather Service, and Bay County Emergency Management to stay up-to-date.    

Where can I get updates on what the County is doing during for Michael?    

To receive updates on County actions during a disaster like a hurricane follow our social media accounts.    




Are County offices closing?

County offices are closed Tuesday, October 9 and Wednesday, October 10.

Where can I get official hurricane forecasts?  

Official tropical cyclone forecasts can be found at Bay County Emergency Management social media will also be updated when an active tropical cyclone has the potential to impact Bay County.    

Where are the shelters located within Bay County?  

The Merritt Brown Middle School Shelter is CLOSED. Rutherford High School, located at 1000 School Avenue, Panama City, FL 32401, is now open as a general population shelter.

Deane Bozeman School, located at 13410 HWY 77, Panama City, FL 32409, is now at full capacity. Northside Elementary, located at 2001 Northside Dr., Panama City FL 32405, is available for special needs but is at capacity for general population.

Shelters are pet friendly, however you will need to bring three days of supplies for your pet including food, water, crates, leashes, and vaccination records.

Are there any evacuations for Bay County?    

Mandatory evacuation orders are now in place for zones A, B, and C. The link below will take you to the map to search by address. Order will be issued at 6 am Tuesday morning. Chief Mark Bowen is asking for those who can do so to evacuate Monday.

What are the evacuation routes?

Click this link for Bay County routes:

How can I find lodging as I evacuate?

Evacuees can go to for up to date lodging availability for surrounding states including Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana.

Who do I call to determine if it is safe to come back?    

Residents can call the Citizens Information Hotline at (850) 248-6090.

Is there a Local State of Emergency?    

The Bay County Board of County Commissioners met at 1 p.m. Oct. 8, 2018 to declare a State of Emergency, order evacuations, and discuss shelter openings which will happen at 10 am Tuesday morning.

What should I do if a hurricane or tropical storm is forecast to impact Bay County?    

If a tropical cyclone is forecast to impact Bay County, it is important that you monitor Bay County Emergency Management social media, local media, and the National Weather Service. Follow any protective actions that are issued. This could include evacuating your home. Be sure to have a fully stocked disaster supply kit ready and have a disaster plan for you, your family, or your business. To create a plan, visit and click “Get a Plan”.    

What should I have in my disaster supply kit?    

At a minimum you should have AT LEAST THREE (3) DAYS WORTH of the following items in your disaster supply kit:  Water (1 gallon per person per day), Non-Perishable Food, Manual Can Opener, Battery Powered or hand cranked radio, NOAA Weather Radio, Flashlight with Batteries, First Aid Kit, Prescription Medications, Hand Sanitizer, Local Maps, Cards/Board Games and Cash.

What if I have a medical or functional need?    

If you have a medical or functional need, please register on the Special Needs Shelter website:    

What do I do if I have any damage?    

If you have any damage or impacts to your home or business contact emergency management at the information below.  If your damage is life threatening, such as a downed power line is on your home, contact 911.

Email with:

• Name

• Telephone Number

• Address of Damage

• Picture of the Damage

• Time the damage occurred (If known)    

What do I do if I have flooding on my property?    

• Do not let children play in flood waters as these waters may be contaminated by sewage.

• If you live in a low-lying or flood-prone area, the ground in your area may be saturated from heavy rainfalls or flooding. You should use household water as little as possible to prevent backups of sewage into your home    

Where can I get sand for bagging?    

Bay County Public Works placed sand for bagging at Pete Edwards Field at 7300 McElvey Rd., Panama City Beach and at the Deer Point Dam located on the NW side, and the Lynn Haven Rec Center at 2201 Recreation Dr. Sandbags are available for purchase at home improvement stores.    

What if my well is affected by floodwaters?    

Private well owners whose drinking water wells are affected by flood waters to take precautions against disease-causing organisms that may make their water unsafe to drink.    

One of the following methods is recommended as a precaution:

• Use bottled water, especially for mixing baby formula; or  • Boil water before use, holding it at rolling boil for at least one minute before using it for drinking, washing, cooking, etc.; or

• Disinfect water by adding 8 drops (about 1/8 tsp – this would form a puddle about the size of a dime) of plain unscented household bleach (4 to 6%) per gallon of water, and then let it stand for 30 minutes. If the water is cloudy after 30 minutes, repeat the procedure. Use a container that has a cap or cover for disinfecting and storing water to be used for drinking.

This will prevent contamination. After the flooding subsides:

• Disinfect your well using the procedures available from the Florida Department of Health in Bay County or provided by the Florida Department of Health at; and

• Have your water tested by the Florida Department of Health in Bay County or by a laboratory certified by the State of Florida to perform drinking water analysis for coliform bacteria.

• Continue to use bottled/boiled/disinfected water until lab tests confirm that it is safe.    

What if my sewage system is affected by floodwaters?    

During periods of heavy rain, you may be experiencing difficulties with your sewage system not functioning properly.  

What should I do if sewage backs up?    

• If a sewage backup has occurred in your home, stay out of affected areas and keep children away.

• If your entire home has been saturated, abandon the home until all affected areas, including but not limited to carpets, rugs, sheetrock, drywall, and baseboards, have been thoroughly cleaned and disinfected.

• If sewage has overflowed in open areas or streets, etc., avoid these areas and keep children out of these areas.

• If you are having problems in areas served by sewer systems, please contact your utility company to insure they are aware of problems in your area.

How do I report price gouging or scams?

Call 1-877-MY-FL-CFO

Where do I take unwanted items I need to dispose of before the storm?

Residents may take unwanted debris to the Solid Waste Landfill on Steelfield Road in Panama City Beach or Waste Energy on Bayline Drive in Panama City. Both locations will be operating today with normal hours. Normal rates apply.

Are the Gulf Waters closed?

Double Red Flags have been posted over the sandy beaches in Bay County. They are now being removed in order to keep them from being destroyed from the wind. Gulf waters remain CLOSED to swimmers due to highly hazardous conditions. Anyone in violation of this county ordinance is subject to arrest. Flags will be posted after Hurricane Michael has passed.