Hurricane Evacuees Help Panama City Beach Hotels

In a strange twist of fate, evacuees from the storm's path appeared to save the Labor Day weekend for businesses along the world's most beautiful beaches.

By noon Monday, the outer bands of Hurricane Gustav brought gusty winds and rain to Panama City Beach with 10-to-12-foot waves which caused officials to fly double red-flags prohibiting folks from going into the gulf.

However, the Panhandle beaches appeared to be spared of any major damage.

Dennis Barnett and his family found refuge at a beach motel with several dogs and a parrot; it is hard to find temporary shelter.

"I was on the internet and we found several places in Tennessee, also Dothan but they wouldn't take pets. We have six animals we found this place, and they've been great," said Barnett.

For one taxi driver, the evacuees helped make up for a dismal holiday weekend. Many evacuees were brought in buses and used taxis to move about

"I just picked-up a group from Gulfport, Mississippi and they told me they were getting out of the storm's way," said Greg Peden with Checkers Taxi Transit.

Several evacuees told News 4 that they just got in their car, had no place to go. They headed either east, or west, and let fate decide for them.

Fortunately, several of the evacuees said they prepared for the worst and hoped for the best and the storm didn't appear to be that bad.

Besides motels, the storm evacuees brought needed business to restaurants across the tri-states region.


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