ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Hurricane Michael devastated parts of Florida’s Panhandle last year when it came ashore at Mexico Beach as a Category 5 storm.
But most of the homes and buildings there weren’t built to withstand a storm as strong as Michael, which begs the question: When it comes to wind, are Florida’s building codes strong enough to withstand the storms that impact our state every year?
Ever since Hurricane Andrew, the state of Florida has been divided into several wind zones. The strictest wind zones are in South Florida and up in the Panhandle, those wind zones are significantly lower.
The counties surrounding Tampa Bay all fall in the middle range of Florida’s wind codes, from 160 mph in parts of Sarasota County to 140 mph in parts of Pasco, Hernando and Citrus counties.
Some officials we spoke with say only about 25 percent of homes in the city of Tampa are up to the current code – and it could be even fewer in some of the surrounding areas.
Looking at the data that’s been collected over the years, it’s clear the entire state of Florida is a potential target for hurricanes. Some experts say designating wind zones solely off what’s happened in the past won’t account for changes in our environment caused by changes in our environment.
10Investigates dug into Florida’s wind zones, looking at how they’re written and how they stand up to hurricanes that take aim at our state every year in our three-part series, "Not Up to Code."
The series begins at 11 p.m. Monday, May 6.
What other people are reading right now:
- Mom says her daughter was bitten 25 times at her daycare
- Meet the 10-year-old who is not a boy or a girl: 'I am who I am'
- Florida lawmakers pass bill to create 3 new toll highways
- Teen nicknamed 'White Lightning' runs 100m dash in 9.98 seconds
- 2 diagnosed with HIV after getting 'vampire facials' at a spa