Panama City Beach resident thankful to be alive after the storm

Walking around her unit and trying to salvage whatever she could, TJ Evans is just thankful to be alive. 

Evans, who lives in a triplex at Huff Street and Thomas Drive on Panama City Beach, was busy picking up the pieces on Wednesday morning after the monster storm blew through early Tuesday morning. 

TJ Evans shows her landlord where she now has a skylight in her unit at the corner of Huff Street and Thomas Drive on Panama City Beach.

“I heard the freight train at 5:30 and got out of bed and went in there,” she said, pointing to the bathroom in the other room.

“I got in there and started praying,” Evans said.

Evans, who is originally from Kansas, moved to Panama City Beach five years ago and has been in the unit a block from the beach the past two years.

“I’m a little desensitized because our parents used to alarm us because we lived in tornado alley,” Evans said, noting she thought it ironic she finally experienced one in Florida.

TJ Evans lived in this unit at the corner of Thomas Drive and Huff Street on Panama City Beach.

Evans was showing her landlord and owner of the unit, Diana Dipietro, some of the damage Wednesday morning. 

“I’ve got a skylight now,” she said pointing to a big hole in the roof. “I can’t believe we’re still alive.” 

She said that right after the first wave of the storms blew through, Fire Chief Ray Morgan came and got her and took her to Treasure Island. 

“I saw them take a lady out of the rubble and bring her into where we were staying,” she said. 

TJ Evans loves the beach and was able to salvage this sign from her unit.

“Fire Chief Morgan really had everything organized,” she said. 

Evans said they stayed in the lobby at Treasure Island until after the second round of storms. Then came back over to the unit. 

“It was so flooded,” she said, noting she slipped on the sidewalk at one point and scraped her knee. 

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