On October 10, 2018, Hurricane Michael attained peak wind speeds of 155 mph approaching the Florida Panhandle. It made landfall near Mexico Beach as a Category 4 storm with wind gusts measured at 129 mph. In the city of Mexico Beach, 14th and 15th Streets are directly off the coastline where Michael came ashore, stripping homes from their foundations, toppling others and heavily damaging the majority of those that remained standing.

When weather forces you to evacuate your home, you can feel much more secure if you own a Palm Harbor home.

Howling winds and waves pushed massive piles of debris hundreds of feet inland, destroying almost everything in their path. In fact, on these two streets, only one home survived and was rated to be inhabitable within 500 feet of the beach. That one home was built by Palm Harbor Homes for Ron and Karen Nichols.

Ron and Karen NicholsRon and Karen had owned their beautiful vacation home for a year when Hurricane Michael forced them to abandon it and head to Georgia. They had taken every precaution to purchase a strong, well-built Wind Zone III Palm Harbor home and to build the foundation to the local building code’s rigid standards. Now they could only wait, watch and pray.

“When we came back to Mexico Beach after Hurricane Michael, we truly did not know what to expect on the inside of our home because our neighbor had called and told us that the water line had gotten up to her roof. So when we opened the door, I don’t want to get emotional again, but there was no damage at all. At all. The carpet wasn’t even wet. We had one small broken window over the bathtub. We just said, ‘Thank you, Lord!’ And we wonder why we were so blessed when all of our neighbors lost everything.”

Despite seeing their home still standing in internet photos, the Nichols fought back mounting fear as they drove south toward Mexico Beach through the path of Michael’s devastation. How could they dare to hope that their home would not be damaged severely like the thousands of homes they were seeing?

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