Tuesday, Oct 23, 2018
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UT grad among those bracing for Hurricane Michael

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    Rob Docko ties a knot while securing his boat at the St. Andrews Marina in Panama City, Fla., on Monday.

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    Capt. Steve Haeusler, left, and Wyatt Ferreira take down the sign for Haeusler's charter fishing boat 'First Light' on Monday.

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    Tallahassee Mayor and Democratic gubernatorial candidate, Andrew Gillum, left, helps Eboni Sipling fill up sandbags in Tallahassee, Fla., on Monday.

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    From left, Haskel Johnson, Daniel Tippett, Jennifer Tippett and Nobuko Johnson fill sand bags at the Lynn Haven Sports Complex in Lynn Haven, Fla., on Monday to prepare for Hurricane Michael.

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Speedy Hurricane Michael is sending thousands of residents across Florida's panhandle sprawling, but at least one former northwest Ohioan has no plans on leaving.

University of Toledo graduate Chaz Nay moved to Panama City Beach, Fla., about eight years ago. He co-owns C Level Bar & Grill, just feet from the Gulf of Mexico, where storm surges could reach 12 feet.

Forecasts Tuesday called for Michael to make landfall midday Wednesday, and placed Panama City Beach in the center of its potentially deadly path.

"C Level is literally right across the street from the beach," Mr. Nay said. "This is the first year we boarded up, but just since it's a direct hit, we're more worried about projectiles busting the windows than flooding."

Mr. Nay was born in the Detroit area before owning a tattoo shop in Toledo for 10 years. He's no stranger to hurricanes, and neither is his mother, who also lives in Florida.

They plan to ride out the storm at Mr. Nay's brother-in-law's house, which is 20 feet above sea level.

"We were actually really busy [at the restaurant] last night," Mr. Nay said. "Some people were staying, some people were eating and leaving, some people are leaving this morning. Some tourists are like, ‘We're 13 stories up; we'll be fine.'

"It's a Category 3, so we had big hurricane parties last night. If it was a Category 4 or above, I think more locals would leave."

Mr. Nay said most of the roads in town were clear Tuesday. He surmised most people evacuating left town Monday night.

"It's sunny and beautiful so far," Mr. Nay said. "A little cloudy and a little windy. Everything is closed on the beach right now. There aren't too many people out and about.”

Contact Jay Skebba at jskebba@theblade.com, 419-376-9414, or on Twitter @JaySkebba.

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