FEMA Report on Hurricane Michael Now Available

Published on February 24, 2020


A house in Mexico Beach, built in 2016 after the Florida Building Code, with significant gable end failure. (Source: FEMA)

On October 10, 2018, Hurricane Michael wreaked havoc on the Florida Panhandle. With maximum sustained winds of 160 mph, Michael made landfall as a Category 5 hurricane between between Mexico Beach and Tyndall Air Force Base in Panama City. Forty-seven people died in Florida. Insurance claims totaled $5.53 billion.

In October 2018 and early January 2019, FEMA’s Federal Insurance and Mitigation Administration’s Building Science Branch deployed a mitigation assessment team (MAT) to the affected areas in Florida.

The MAT was composed of subject matter experts in a variety of fields, including NHERI NCO member Tom Smith, AIA, RRC, F.SEI and principal at TLSmith Consulting Inc. Smith is an architect and respected authority on wind performance of buildings.

The MAT assessed the performance of hundreds of coastal and in-land residential properties, critical facilities, municipal and public buildings, seawalls as well as hurricane evacuation shelters. The team developed 69 recommendations for actions to take.

The full report is now available. FEMA encourages the following groups to adopt its recommendations:

  • Federal, state and local governments;
  • private companies in the design and construction industry;
  • building code and standards organizations;
  • and other select stakeholders.

These 69 recommendations, when implemented, will help reduce injuries and mitigate building and their associated utility system damage from future natural hazard events in Florida and elsewhere.