Hurricane Michael may be a thing of the past but for communities along the Panhandle in North Florida, the aftermath of the storm is just now beginning to be calculated.
Reports are saying that this is the most powerful storm to come on to Florida since 1992 with many deaths and many more people still unaccounted for.
A week after the storm passed, many communities that were in the path of the hurricane still don’t have power. When you see the pictures of the devastation, there is one home that seems to stand out. It is a beach house that seems to be untouched by the wrath of Michael.
It is a rental house along Mexico Beach, Florida and people were shocked to see that it stood the destruction that Michael brought on shore. Almost every other building in that neighborhood was flattened by Michael but this home, which is being deemed as a ‘miracle home’ appears to be as good as new.
The men who built the house, which is named ‘Sand Palace’ say that the fact that the home is still standing is not by chance.
The home was built by Radiologist Dr. Lebron Lackey and his uncle, Russell King last year and they kept the possibility of a powerful hurricane in mind when the plans were being considered.
Most homes are built on a very strict budget but they went as much as 20% over budget and went ‘above and beyond’ the building codes in Florida. They wanted to guarantee that the building would survive ‘the big one’.
“Neither one of us had ever built a home,” Lackey told Weather.com. “We knew we were building a home in a position to potentially suffer a natural disaster – a hurricane.”
Every piece that went into the construction of Sand Palace was specifically chosen to withstand such a major natural disaster.
The walls are 1 foot thick with rebar and steel reinforcement. The roof is connected and further pinned down using steel cables so the high winds would not cause it to fly off.
The pilings are 40 feet long and 28 of those feet are buried under the sand to help stabilize the home and keep it above water during the storm surges.
When Michael roared on-shore, the home stood up to the pounding. Although it was being hit with 155 mph sustained winds, and all of the other buildings in the area were practically flattened, Sand Palace didn’t waiver.
When Lackey was watching the home security camera during the storm, he saw a corner of the roof ‘buck like an airplane wing’ as debris was flying by.
“I went through this storm with a tremendous amount of anxiety and concern.”
There were also certain parts of the home that were not built to withstand the storm. These included lower walls and a side staircase which crumbled as the storm passed.
“They successfully failed,” Lackey told the Cleveland Banner, “it was all by design.”
Although the house was made to withstand a major storm, it certainly is not indestructible. Lackey had concerns about seawater damaging the inside of the home and causing mold to grow. There were also two windows inside the home that were broken.
Even though there is a lot of attention focused on this vacation home, Lackey is not happy that his home is the only one surviving in the community.
“I was also heartbroken for all those dwellings around us.”
Lackey hurried down to Mexico Beach after the storm passed to begin with the rebuilding and rescue. His wife, Heather, described how Sand Palace had now become a makeshift “staging area for news and search and rescue and relief workers.”