Florida Keys Building Code Stood Up to Irma

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Real Estate

Hurricane Irma has come and gone in the Florida Keys, and in her wake lie up to 10,000 people who are displaced because their housing was destroyed by the severity of the wind and storm surge.  These good people are literally struggling to survive, and wondering how they will rebuild. I drove 75 miles south from our home in Key Largo down to Big Pine Key yesterday to help at a hurricane relief distribution center. While volunteering I spoke with some of these people, and listened to their heartbreaking stories.  Most of the folks who lost their homes were living in older structures that were built before modern hurricane building codes. With winds of 130 mph, and storm surges in places at 10 feet, their homes didn't stand a chance. Thank goodness most of them evacuated. There were people at the relief center getting supplies so that they could feed elderly residents that they have taken into their homes to care for. There were people with little children needing food and diapers.  Everyone was hot and exhausted from the experience.  Many seemed very traumatized. And all were thankful for the support of the local charities, volunteers, and our governmental agencies for showing up to help.  I'll be going back to Big Pine to volunteer in the coming days and weeks to help in the recovery.  And in the coming months and years, these Keys residents will find a way to rebuild their homes and lives.  Let's all do our part to help them in they ways that we can....

As I drove to Big Pine Key yesterday, I couldn't help but notice that most of the homes I could see from the Overseas Highway weren't damaged much, if at all.  It's true that many of them were elevated "stilt" homes so commonly found in the Keys.  And many were made primarily of concrete construction, often built with concrete roofs. In Monroe County, we have some of the toughest building standards in the country, reflecting our experience with hurricane force winds and storm surge threats. As Keys residents rebuild, I know their new homes will be built under the latest, and most stringest building codes in the US, and we'll all be better off the next time a hurricane of any sort approaches our shores.

Follow this recent Miami Herald article for more information about how modern Keys homes are designed to withstand the forces of storms like Irma.

Miami Herald - Keys Homes Battered But Standing May Be a Model For Florida