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FSU drone program helps with Mexico Beach rebuild

Published: Dec. 9, 2021 at 8:35 PM CST
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MEXICO BEACH, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Rebuilding a city after a hurricane is no easy task; it takes many experts in many fields.

For Mexico Beach, part of the rebuild involves students from Florida State University.

It’s hard to forget the images captured by drones in October 2018, before and after shots from Sky 7 showed how hurricane Michael destroyed Mexico Beach.

Now, three years later, the city is rebuilding and students with Florida State’s Emergency Management and Homeland Security Program are helping.

They’re using drones to get a bird’s-eye view of the city’s progression.

“We’re able to do some drone footage today that we can show where we’ve come three years and a few months after the storm,” Douglas Baber, City of Mexico Beach city administrator said.

These images, captured from the sky, give the city a visual timeline of how far they’ve come.

“They’re gonna fly the entire city of Mexico Beach, looking at all the roofs, all the infrastructure, the project they’ve been working on. Seeing where they were and where they are now,” Baber said.

This isn’t the first time FSU students have put an eye to the sky.

They’ve been making regular trips to Mexico Beach to capture the rebuild in progress.

“We’ll be able to capture pretty much everything that’s happened in the past three years. And provide the city and the county with kind of a visual timeline of everything that’s been fixed since the storm came ashore,” David Merrick, FSU Emergency Management and Homeland Security program director said.

It’s more than just capturing images, they will use this video to learn as they rebuild.

These drones will help Mexico Beach and other communities build back stronger, and better able to withstand another hurricane.

City officials say another big project they hope to document soon is the rebuilding of the city pier.

They hope to start that project in the near future.

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