Mexico Beach & Hurricane Michael – Lessons Learned

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Submitted by Mike Marinan, Director of Member Services - Public Risk Underwriters of Florida, Inc.

   On October 18th, Category 5  Hurricane Michael cameashore in the Florida panhandle. It devastated a number of communities in its path but none more than the small beach community of Mexico Beach.
Mexico Beach was a town of 1,072 people, many of whom had lived there for decades.

   Adrian Welle, has been the City Clerk for Mexico Beach for several years, provided some of his
thoughts about the event- what he thought the city did well and what he wished they had done better
in preparation for the storm. Some of this information he hopes might help other communities better
prepare for disruption and havoc these storms create.

“In preparation, I wish that we as a city had done a better job of looking more closely at our
insured values, updating annually all of the value estimates. The replacement costs we are going
to experience are going to be much higher than we predicted.”

“I would also encourage everyone to have exact inventories of EVERYTHING. We lost every one
of our sheds and their contents but were unable to get 100% accurate estimate of the contents
due to the lack of good inventory.”

“Some of the success we had in preparation of the storm was the movement of equipment and
vehicles. We strategically staged backhoes and equipment on the ends of town to make it easy
for reentry, we moved vehicles inland to be less likely to receive damage. Though the concept
was great, we could not prepare for the complete leveling of our community. Even though we
staged vehicles, they sadly still received storm surge and significant damage.”

“We are 6 months beyond the storm and we continue to work hard bringing back our community.
Though this was one hard blow to our City, I know we will be back stronger than ever !”