Today marks the 21st anniversary of Hurricane Andrew. On August 24, 1992 this category 5 hurricane ravaged the lands of South Florida. Here are some of my reflections on the storm…
Sunday, August 23: My husband and I were co-hosts at a local radio station. It was an interesting and fun experience. Upon our return home, we paid serious attention to the forecast and proceeded to make some preparations for the storm. We had never experienced a hurricane so we had no idea what to expect. I recall my husband taping our windows and bringing in loose items from the patio into our garage. We also filled up some buckets of water. That was the extent of our preparation. Was that serious attention to the news? I remember thinking how can we have a hurricane coming when the sky is so serene and blue. Now I know that was the calm before the storm!
Sunday night: We went to sleep with no worries at all. Sometime during the early morning hours, perhaps about 2 A.M, we woke up to the howling wind and the crashing of tree branches against the walls. We sprung out of bed. Our entire household woke about the same time – my parents and our two young children joined us in the living room.
In the living room: We drew the vertical blinds to see what was going on outside. The children and I knelt on the sofa with our noses pressed to the windowpane, observing the swaying of the coconut palm in our yard and the thick sheets of pelting rain. We were so naïve! The front door rattled and bulged with the pressure of the wind and I vividly recall telling my dad and my husband as they were getting ready to place a sofa against the door, “do not put the new sofa, get the old one”. Was I stupid or what? In the interim of moving the sofa, the door could have come crashing down and we would have had some pretty serious injuries. I can’t remember what time the power went out.
Finding comfort on the floor: I think we were one of the few families that stayed in such close proximity to the danger of Hurricane Andrew. Most people gathered in their bathtubs, in a study, or in a room. On the other hand, we brought out our comforters and spread them in the living room. We cuddled with the children until the howling and crashing winds and rains stopped. The children and I eventually fell asleep.
The daylight hours: The reality of Hurricane Andrew truly kicked in for us when we ventured outside. Our street was a jaw dropping sight… tiles from the rooftops, fallen fences, damaged cars, broken windows, houses with partial rooftops, blown out doors, dislodged cars, uprooted trees…you name the type of damage a hurricane can bring and it was there. The charging wind ripped apart one of my neighbor’s sliding doors, picked up a stereo speaker, and hit him smack above the eye. He had a huge bulge for days.
The damage to our property: The damage was minimal. It doesn’t compare to the other residents, so I don’t speak of it. We were saved from Hurricane Andrew, and I thank God and count my blessings for the protection. We were happy to only have had to deal with the loss of power for about a week, the summer heat during the day, and the mosquitoes by night. Hurricane Andrew taught us a valuable lesson in preparing for a storm.
Did I say I was four months pregnant at the time?