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Palm Harbor Riviera Stands Up to Hurricane Michael in Mexico Beach

With peak wind speeds of 160 mph, Hurricane Michael rapidly approached the Florida Panhandle on Monday, October 10, 2018. The powerful hurricane made landfall near Mexico Beach as a Category 5 storm. After the storm cleared, less than 500 homes were left standing of the roughly 2,700 homes in Mexico Beach prior to Hurricane Michael.

Two quiet streets, 14th and 15th Streets – deadhead directly into the coastline in Mexico Beach at the point where Michael first made landfall, stripping massive new and older homes alike from their foundations, toppling others and heavily damaging most of those that remained. Ferocious winds and a storm surge reaching 9 to 14 feet pushed huge piles of debris hundreds of feet inland from the beach, bulldozing almost everything in their path. In fact, for nearly a mile up these two streets, only one home survived and was rated to be inhabitable with the coveted “green tag” from inspectors. That one home was a Riviera II modular home built by Palm Harbor Homes for Ron and Karen Nichols.

Ron and Karen Nichols Ron and Karen had lived in their beautiful new Palm Harbor vacation home for just a year when evacuation warnings for Hurricane Michael forced them to head back home to Georgia. When they were building their “forever home,” they had taken careful measures to purchase a strong, well-built Wind Zone III Palm Harbor home and to build the foundation to the local building code’s rigid standards. Now they could only wait, watch and pray.

Not long after the hurricane had passed, the couple anxiously drove back to the coast, anxiously noting that the signs of the storm’s devastation only intensified as they got closer to Mexico Beach. Online, they had found aerial photos indicating that their home was still standing, but they had no idea the level of damage done to the inside of their new home. How could they dare to hope that their home would not be damaged severely like the thousands of homes they were seeing?

“When we came back to Mexico Beach after Hurricane Michael,” Karen Nichols shared, “We truly did not know what to expect on the inside of our home because our neighbor had called and told us that the water line had gotten up to her roof. So when we opened the door, I don’t want to get emotional again, but there was no damage at all. At all. The carpet wasn’t even wet. We had one small broken window over the bathtub. We just said, ‘Thank you, Lord!’ And we wonder why we were so blessed when all of our neighbors lost everything.”

To hear the Nichols story in their own words and see the home for yourself, please view the short video below.

So when we opened the door, I don’t want to get emotional again, but there was no damage at all. At all. The carpet wasn’t even wet.

Thanks to the Nichols and the hundreds of other homeowners who have graciously shared their inspiring “weathering the storm” stories with us over the years. To see more of our current favorite Palm Harbor customer reviews, visit

See how we weathered Hurricane Andrew in Florida in 1992.
See how we weathered Hurricane Charley in Florida in 2004.
See how we weathered Hurricane Ike in Louisiana and Texas in 2008.
See how we weathered Hurricane Irma in Florida in 2017.
See how our building process provides the additional strength our modular and manufactured homes need to weather the storms.

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