The local owners of a house at Mexico Beach, Fla., that survived the wrath of Hurricane Michael are at work making the "Sand Palace" still stronger.
Chattanooga attorney Russell King, who owns the house with his nephew, Dr. Lebron Lackey of Cleveland, Tn., said "We are reinforcing girders and support beams and eliminating outdoor ceiling electrical (fans, lights and receptacles) to avoid giving the wind a place to enter and destroy.
"Also, we have just ordered $20,000 in stainless steel supports and ties.
We want to meet with DEP (Florida Department of Environmental Protection) and find a way to avoid break away walls that allow our stored items to be washed away and then also cause damage to other people."
Mr. King said, "We are going to add a hurricane door shutter at the middle floor entrance. We are going to add trim pieces on the perimeter of all outdoor ceiling panels to hold them in place more securely."
He noted, "The next one is coming and we want to be ready and try to survive."
Michael contained sustained winds of 155 mph and destroyed much of the quaint town on the Gulf.
The striking picture of the Sand Palace standing tall amid the rubble was featured far and wide.
Just after the storm, many national news outlets set up camp at the Sand Palace, and the owners were frequently interviewed about the steps they had taken to avoid total disaster.
The Sand Palace survived because the ground floor walls were designed to break away to lessen pressure on the stilts holding up the sturdy upper section. Those piles were driven deep into the sand.
The upper floors were buttressed by insulated concrete forms. The six-inch walls also included vertical and horizontal steel rebar. Specially designed truss connector plates were also used.
The windows survived almost intact because they were designed with an outer pane, a spacer and a stronger inner pane.