Four years later, Mexico Beach residents reflect on Hurricane Michael

Hurricane Michael brings catastrophic damage for Mexico Beach, Florida
Hurricane Michael brings catastrophic damage for Mexico Beach, Florida
Published: Oct. 10, 2022 at 11:44 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - It’s been four years since Hurricane Michael barreled through North Florida.

Many are still struggling to cope with the financial and emotional hardships the storm caused.

One Mexico Beach resident, Annette Coffield, says she’s spent the last four years healing from the scars of Michael.

“It will probably be an emotional day for me every day of my life,” she said. “I was inside my house when it came through.”

Coffield is one of only a few Mexico Beach residents who chose not to evacuate during the storm.

“The first things that happened were the tornadoes that came by,” she said. “I watched it implode my neighbors’ houses. Then I saw a tsunami come and watched it take away houses.”

Four years later, Coffield is still rebuilding her home.

She says she’s thankful to be alive.

“I consider myself blessed every day,” she said.

But after the destruction comes resilience.

Mexico Beach was unrecognizable after Hurricane Michael, and now, residents say they’ve emerged stronger.

“You find the energy to rebuild,” said Tom Wood, owner of the Driftwood Inn.

The Driftwood Inn reopened this past summer after it was destroyed and rebuilt from the ground up.

“And when you rebuild, after it’s all done and you go through the heartache and the pain and everything else, you step back, and you say, ‘I’m glad I did it,’” Wood said.

On the fourth anniversary of Hurricane Michael, Wood and Coffield say their hearts are with those in Southwest Florida, who are picking up the pieces after Ian.

“I know what they’re going through,” Wood said.

“I just pray that they have the strength to see it through,” Coffield said.