Tests on Panama City marina civic center will simulate the force of Hurricane Michael

Panama City

PANAMA CITY Fla. (WMBB) — Thursday, beware of loud noises and flying debris coming from the Panama City Marina. That’s because the city will be running a test on the civic center building to secure FEMA funding for repairs.

The marina civic center suffered significant damage during Hurricane Michael. 

Panama City City Manager, Mark McQueen, said the city believes the estimated cost of repair is $34 million, but right now FEMA is only offering $11 million. 

“FEMA has made a determination that the building is only 43 percent damaged so, therefore, can be repaired,” McQueen said. “We have a number of engineers that have assessed the building and many different components of the building and as a result of that the city contends that the building is 58 percent damaged.”

McQueen said in order for the city to receive full funding the damage must be over 50 percent.

He said FEMA failed to take into account two key elements: the HVAC system and the fire suppression system.

“It will help us to have a stronger position in our appeal to FEMA to allow us to prove that the nexus of the damage was the storm and as a result of that the city should be afforded the additional $22 million,” McQueen said.

On Thursday, the test will take place on the side of the civic center facing the bay in order to simulate the winds that happened during Hurricane Michael. How it works is two wind generators will face the building and blow winds and water up to 150 miles per hour.

It is expected to last anywhere from six to eight hours.

City officials are warning residents to avoid the marina areas. To ensure safety, some areas of the marina will be closing. 

“We will be closing the boat ramp starting Wednesday evening at 8 p.m. and it will remain closed until 5 p.m. on Thursday,” McQueen said.

The test will cost around $144 thousand.

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