Gulf of Mexico

After the storm, ruins and rebuilding overshadow personal anguish

Hurricane Michael survivors in the Florida Panhandle talk of stress or despair, which experts say can lead to anxiety and depression.

MEXICO BEACH — The trailer sits on a corner lot, with a view of the Gulf of Mexico, but Carl Lormand could only see the pile of ash that used to be his home.

He had watched the house burn during Hurricane Michael, helpless to stop the creeping flames as they swept over one neighbor’s property, then another. Lormand had ridden out the storm across the street, in a sturdy new house built by people out of town who had left him a key. Even there, the roof had blown off, water dripping through the floor above, and the 67-year-old wondered if he would die alone.

He stayed in Mexico Beach after the hurricane because his 12-year-old daughter wanted to go home, to the same school, the same street.

Lormand bought the trailer and parked it at the back of the lot. It is narrow and cramped. And Mexico Beach is stripped bare, the nights darker and quieter without neighbors.

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