MEXICO BEACH, Fla. (WMBB) – Even though Hurricane Michael took place three years ago, Mexico Beach is still rebuilding.
Officials said construction has been moving forward quickly all thanks to community partners and their drones.
The sounds of rebuilding fill the air in Mexico Beach. It is a work in progress after a Category Five storm destroyed most of the area.
Just ten hours after the storm is when FSU Emergency Management and Homeland Security surveyed the damage using drones.
“The devastation here was fairly complete, particularly here on the west side of Mexico Beach close to Tyndall AFB,” FSU Director of Emergency Management and Homeland Security David Merrick said.
The area looked quite devastated, however. In well-known videos and pictures, a single white house was the only thing standing. Now, many look just like it.
“It’s so exciting to see they are all coming up around it,” Mexico Beach City Administrator Douglas Baber said. “I hear construction going on behind us while we speak and it’s just actively working. And I know the contractors are tired but they’re doing such great work.”
The city of Mexico Beach and Bay County received over $100 million in grants to rebuild. Drone video allowed officials to compare imagery during the last three years and keep up with insurance claims.
“I think it will really show kind of in black and white if you will the progress that’s been made,” Merrick said.
For the third time, the team from FSU EM was in Mexico Beach to take new videos. Baber said the imagery will be used to make an updated map of the city. It will also help them determine how much construction remains.
Mexico beach purchased 80 acres to create a retention pond to relieve future flooding. Within the next year, city officials hope to have the boat ramp and public pier open.