Hurricane Matthew Put Codes To Big Test … And They Passed

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Florida enacted stricter building codes over the last few decades after Hurricane Andrew, which helped mitigate damage from a major storm this month

October 26, 2016

Flooding from Hurricane Matthew. Photo: Chris Rehak/Creative Commons

Stricter building codes enacted in the early 2000s after Hurricane Andrew are being credited with preventing extensive damage along Florida’s central coast during Hurricane Matthew. The latter storm, which tore along the mid and northern coasts of the state earlier this month, could have been far worse had codes not been updated and enforced, according to government officials. 

Most of the damage Hurricane Matthew left behind along the central coast consisted of downed trees, damaged signs and piers, and beach erosion. Exterior impact protection including impact-resistant windows, hurricane shutters, and reinforced doors are now required on new construction. The storm did not make a direct hit, however, so the area escaped the storm’s highest wind speeds. Whether newer construction will hold up to the full wrath of a powerful hurricane remains to be seen.

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