Search is on for more than 200 missing in Panhandle

- As search and rescue crews look for survivors, families are worried about not being able to reach their loved ones.

Communications are down throughout the areas impacted by Hurricane Michael and many people are only getting voicemails when they call relatives.

Looking at images of the catastrophic devastation from the storm offers no comfort for families looking for news of loved ones.

"My other brother Kenneth, he was home when Michael hit, and nobody can find him," said April Vickers, of Orange City.

Vickers said her entire family is in Panama City, an area ravaged by the storm. She is not just looking for her brother but also her father.

"I haven't slept in about two days, and around noon today, I finally cried myself to sleep," said Vickers. "I'm just waking back up. I'm a nervous wreck."

Communication problems are widespread not just for families but relief workers. Many agencies are turning to amateur radio operators to reach one another from the impacted areas.

RELATED: 'Changed Forever': Florida Panhandle devastated by Michael

"Yesterday, we were told that Verizon lost 39 towers, and some of the amateur radio repeaters are on some of those towers," said Bill Miller, an amateur radio operator in Hillsborough County.

Miller set up an antenna Friday to help out the Salvation Army of Tampa Bay. With many communication systems and power grids down, Miller said it's hard for people to get help messages out to responders.

"What you're going to find in the panhandle with the devastation there is it's going to be a lot like Puerto Rico. The health and welfare messages are going to come out more than go in for a while," said Miller.

So until rescuers go door to door, there are several ways to check on your family and friends. They may have checked themselves as safe on the Red Cross website, https://safeandwell.communityos.org/cms/index.php, or on social media.

The state also launched a website, https://fdoh.readyop.com/fs/4cav/bcda, to list someone missing or trapped, so they know where to send officers and rescuers.

The state website uses important information, like the county and street where the person lives who you are looking for.

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