As they built their dream house last year on the shimmering sands of the Gulf of Mexico, Russell King and his nephew, Dr. Lebron Lackey, painstakingly documented every detail of the elevated construction, from the 40-foot pilings buried into the ground to the types of screws drilled into the walls. They picked gleaming paints from a palette of shore colors, chose salt-tolerant species to plant in the beach dunes and christened their creation the Sand Palace of Mexico Beach.
They also installed an outdoor security camera. Its video footage became the only view of their property as Hurricane Michael thundered ashore last week, the most intense storm recorded in the history of the Florida Panhandle.
The camera showed a horrifying tunnel of gray fury worsening by the hour as Dr. Lackey, a 54-year-old radiologist, stared helplessly from more than 400 miles away at the corner of his roof.