PANAMA CITY Fla. (WMBB) — Thursday, the City of Panama City created a reenactment of Hurricane Michael. Although this is a day many would never want to relive, the city is working to prove the damages to the electrical room were caused by the storm.
NOVA Engineering Vice President, Jim Keeny, said the test was based on data from the storm.
“To do that we had to do a lot of research with NOAA and came up with a sustained wind of 42 miles an hour to 98 miles an hour with gusts of 127 miles an hour,” Keeney said.
Keeney said they ran five sessions throughout the day. Each replicating an hour of the storm and its varying conditions.
“We broke it into five one-hour sessions and within the one-hour sessions with the data we researched we determined what the wind speed and the rain were during that time,” Keeney said.
Right now FEMA believes the civic center is only 43 percent damaged and the cost to repair would be 11 million. The city said it is 58 percent damaged and will cost 34 million to replace.
Panama City City Manager Mark McQueen said the goal of Thursday’s test is to prove the electronics were not just damp but soaked. The city paid $144 thousand for the simulation.
“That is a key important point as we continue our negotiations with FEMA is to prove that all of these components need to be replaced, all of these electronics need to be replaced,” McQueen said.
Representatives from FEMA, the city, and congressman Neal Dunn’s office were here to watch. McQueen said the civic center is a vital part of the city’s recovery and they will fight hard to bring it back.
“The arts of our community are so important to our quality of life and that is what we are striving to do is rebuild better for our citizens,” McQueen said.
Once the test wraps up, it will take about two weeks to get the results back.
The test should be done by 6 p.m. Thursday and the Panama City Marina boat ramp will reopen on Friday.