Michael's destruction reveals region's weaker building codes

Unlike in South Florida, homes in the state's Panhandle did not have tighter building codes until just 11 years ago.

After seeing the destruction wrought by Hurricane Michael last week, though, some are starting to regret the exemptions the area had been given.

The acres of flattened homes showed how contractors cut corners amid the patchwork of codes Florida had at the time. For example, flimsy particle board was used under roofs instead of sturdier plywood, and staples were used instead of roofing nails.

Since 2001, structures statewide must be built to withstand winds of 111 mph (178 kph) and up; the Miami area is considered a "high velocity hurricane zone" with much higher standards, requiring many structures to withstand hurricane winds in excess of 170 mph (273 kph).