Florida city makes last Hurricane Michael debris payment

PANAMA CITY, Fla. (AP) — A Florida city hit hard by Hurricane Michael has approved its final payment for debris removal from that 2018 storm.

The Panama City Commission voted Tuesday to pay $2.1 million to Crowder Gulf, the disaster recovery company that handled the city’s storm debris.

The Panama City News Herald reported that about $94.6 million has been spent to remove all of its hurricane debris. Most of the cost will be reimbursed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

In all, crews collected 5.7 million cubic yards (4.3 million cubic meters) of debris from the city and removed 18,000 tree stumps.

“Crowder Gulf did a brilliant job within the city of Panama City,” said City Manager Mark McQueen. “This was a herculean effort. They were very professional.”

Hurricane Michael roared ashore as a category 5 storm with winds of more than 160 mph (257 km/h) in the Florida Panhandle town of Mexico Beach. Nearby Panama City and Bay County also suffered heavy damage.

The region endured heavy rains and some flooding from Hurricane Ida this week.