Unlike in South Florida, homes in the state’s Panhandle did not have tighter building codes until just 11 years ago; it was once argued that acres of forests would provide the region with a natural barrier against the savage winds of a hurricane.

Many of those structures did not withstand the fury of Hurricane Michael, which slammed into the area last week with winds of up to 155 mph, leaving acres of flattened houses and other buildings in its wake before roaring across the Georgia border inland.

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