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This "Miracle Home" Survived Hurricane Michael - But It Wasn't Just Luck

Sand Palace of Mexico Beach - Facebook / NOAA

Hurricane Michael has come and gone, but communities along the Florida panhandle are still picking up the pieces in its wake.

The disaster has been called the most powerful storm to hit Florida since 1992, and left at least 18 people dead while more than 1,000 are still missing.

Even a week after the storm, many communities in the hurricane's path are still without power.

And with all that devastation, it's easy to see why footage of a beach house that was seemingly untouched by the hurricane went viral this week.

Built For The "Big One"

The Sand Palace Hurricane Michael
The Sand Palace was one of the only buildings left standing on the shore.Sand Palace of Mexico Beach - Florida

This rental home on the shore of Mexico Beach, Florida stunned viewers when it appeared in footage of Michael's destruction.

Nearly every other building in the beachfront neighborhood was flattened by the storm, but this "miracle home" looked good as new.

People online joked that God had been looking out for the home, or that the owners were just incredibly lucky.

But the men who built the house, named the Sand Palace, say that's not the case.

Radiologist Dr. Lebron Lackey and his uncle, Russell King, built the property last year, and say they had a storm like Hurricane Michael in mind when they drew up the plans.

The pair say they went 15-20% over budget, and "above and beyond" Florida building codes, to guarantee the building would survive "the big one."

"Neither one of us had ever built a home," Lackey told Weather.com. "We knew we were building a home in a position to potentially suffer a natural disaster - a hurricane."

"I was also heartbroken for all those dwellings around us."

From top to bottom, every piece of the Sand Palace was chosen to withstand a major disaster.

The foot-thick concrete walls are reinforced with steel and rebar, while the roof is pinned down with steel cables, to keep it from flying off in high winds.

The pilings, which lifted the house above water from storm surges, are 40-feet long, with 28 feet buried under sand to stabilize the house.

All of the work the men invested in the home paid off, because when Michael's 155 mile-per-hour winds knocked nearby buildings to pieces, the Sand Palace didn't budge.

Sand Palace Hurricane Michael
Satellite footage shows the Sand Palace among rubble from the hurricane.NOAA / Mapbox

Lackey was able to watch the hurricane hit through the home's security camera, and saw a corner of the roof "buck like an airplane wing" as huge pieces of debris flew by.

"I went through this storm with a tremendous amount of anxiety and concern."

But even parts of the home that were not built to last - like a side staircase and lower walls - broke apart as planned in the storm.

"They successfully failed," Lackey told the Cleveland Banner, "it was all by design."

Of course, the house isn't indestructible. Lackey was concerned that seawater may have damaged the inside, or caused mold to grow. Two windows inside the home were also broken.

And despite all the attention his vacation home has received, Lackey is not happy to own the only surviving home on his block.

"I was also heartbroken for all those dwellings around us."

Once the storm passed, Lackey hurried down to Mexico Beach to help with the rescue and rebuilding, and his wife, Heather, wrote that the Sand palace had become "somewhat of a staging area for news and search and rescue and relief workers."

[H/T: Weather.com, Cleveland Banner]

Did you see photos of the Sand Palace after the storm passed? What an incredible story!

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