A home is every man’s dream. A house – it stands as a symbol of happiness, strength and protection. But sometimes our very homes become defenceless in the face of natural disasters. But there are some houses that went through the test of nature and stood tall to tell the tale. One such house is the Sand Palace, on the 36th street in Mexico Street.
Micheal, the category four hurricane, struck the shores of Florida Panhandle in October of 2018. The entire Mexico Beach was washed out like a clean slate by the Hurricane. But the Sand Palace stood up against the wrath of nature and survived. How it survived the disastrous hurricane when other houses washed out is the first question that pop-ups in everyone’s mind.
Besting the Hurricane:
The answer to the question lies in the study and care taken during its construction. Sand Palace survived the ordeal because additional research and study went into its construction. Russell King and Dr Lebron Lackey, his nephew build the house so that it could survive even the big windstorm.
The Building code of Floride is known for its stringentness yet the same strictness is not seen in the Panhandle region. The buildings constructed in the hurricane-prone Atlantic shoreline should be able to withstand windspeed of 175 miles an hour. But for Panhandle region, the windspeed considered is 125 miles per hour. But the Sand Palace was built to withstand windspeed of 250 miles per hour.
The house with five bedrooms and bathrooms is an elevated structure with 40-foot pilings buried into the ground. The elevated design was used to save the house from the powerful surge of ocean waves which accompanied the hurricane. It is constructed with poured concrete and reinforced by means of steel cables and rebar. Additional concrete is used to provide strength to the corners of the house.
The space under the roof is minimised to prevent the entry of wind. It is also a means to ensure that the roof is not swept off during the hurricane. A staircase was built to access the house which was ripped away by the hurricane. The stairs and the siding wrapping the stairs were designed as breakable walls which would reduce damage to the structure.
The structures along the coastline of Mexico Beach all became a pile of rubble after the hurricane except the Sand Palace. Buildings in the region were all built by following the regulations set by the government. Yet all of them miserably perished in the hurricane. In this century it has become a requirement to build houses considering the worst possible calamities. Only then will it truly become a safe haven.