Pictured above: A car is crushed by debris during the storm.
FLORIDA PANHANDLE–As a winter storm wreaked havoc throughout the Florida Panhandle in the early morning
hours of Jan. 9, families braced themselves when tornadoes blew through neighborhoods, creating widespread destruction, damaging roofs, putting cars under trees and leaving some without homes.
The National Weather Service said one tornado in Panama City was the first EF3 tornado to hit Bay County in more than 50 years.
We are so grateful that we serve a God who is sovereign over every situation. No matter the circumstances, we can still give Him praise in both the good and bad.
Florida Division of Emergency Management Executive Director Kevin Guthrie reported “potentially catastrophic damage” in Bay County.
Eastside Baptist Church in Marianna, suffering minimal damage as one tornado passed less than half a mile away, has several families within the church who live in hard-hit Spring Chase. Nearly every home in the neighborhood sustained damage, with many needing to be completely rebuilt in the months to come.
Vince Smith, pastor, First Baptist Church in Marianna, and Danny Mann, pastor, Trinity Baptist Church in Marianna, were both quick to mobilize their church members to help in the community. Chipola Baptist Association promptly set up a food giveaway and, even as temperatures are expected to dip below freezing in the coming days, is utilizing its office as an American Red Cross shelter for displaced community residents,
In the storm’s aftermath, deacons at 5 Bridges Church in Panama City quickly began to call and check on church members, from Santa Rosa Beach to Lynn Haven. “We were able to connect and reach our local community, serving families in need through our food pantry,” said Ethan Jago, pastor, 5 Bridges Church. “We are so grateful that we serve a God who is sovereign over every situation. No matter the circumstances, we can still give Him praise in both the good and bad.”