Thunder Beach returns to Panama City Beach

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PANAMA CITY BEACH -- (WTVY) There's going to be a storm in Panama City Beach well in to the weekend, including lots of thunder and lots of traffic. Thunder Beach officially kicked off Wednesday night. Panama City Beach will host the 17th annual autumn rally until Sunday.
We spoke with one local who looks forward to the annual event.

"I like it, I don't own a motorcycle myself but will be very soon. I've always liked motorcycles so I don't have a problem with it whatsoever. I like it much better than spring break," said Riggin Koontz, a Panama City Beach local.

With so many more bikes on the road, traffic does tend to back up.

"I find it to be a little worse on the east end than the west end. Traffic down here is usually bad six to eight months out of the year so it's something you just adapt to after a while," said Koontz.

According to Panama City Beach Police Chief Drew Whitman, there will be extra police officers patrolling the roads for Thunder Beach.

"With so many bikes on the beach they're going to be grouped up, they're going to ride in packs because that's just the way it is. It's safer when they ride in packs.Traffic is going to be congested, it always is on Back Beach [Road]," said Chief Whitman.

"There is a police officer every block, every other block. The traffic is not speeding, the bikes are safe. As long as you're following the speed limit and just doing what you're doing it's safe," said Kelly Thurman, who frequently visits the Thunder Beach rallies.

Chief Whitman told us he urges motorcyclists to call a cab or an Uber if they have had too much to drink instead of getting on their bike.

The 20th annual Thunder Beach Spring Rally will be May 2nd-6th.

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