17 years later…
On August 29, 2005, New Orleans, Louisiana was the victim to one of the worst hurricanes in recorded history. The rest of the country may refer every following hurricane as ‘Katrina,’ but here in Miami, we still compare, joke, and refer to all hurricanes as ‘Andrew.’ Hurricane Andrew made landfall in Miami, Florida, 17 years ago today. It was 1992. My mom was 7 1/2 months pregnant and we had like 20 people in my house. My 9th birthday was two days away and all I really knew or understood was that a big storm was coming. What I never could have anticipated was something called a Category 5 hurricane with winds that exceeded 140 MPH, 6 confirmed touched down tornadoes, and over $26 BILLION (yes Billion with a B) in damages.
Thousands of people had their homes completely destroyed. They had to lock themselves in their small window-less bathrooms and closets with a mattress pressed against the door believing it would help at all. Everyone in the city had lost power and the damage that span the city was catastrophic. Every Miami gas station was out of gas, grocery stores had huge lines with no merchandise, and the roads were so damaged with debris and uprooted trees, it was hard to even know where you were.
We all learned about the use and importance of things like hurricane shutters, generators, and there being a non-creepy reason to have a few small gas tanks and large chainsaw in your car at all times. Since then local laws have changed regarding home-owner insurance, hurricane shutter spec requirements, and now EVERY person in Miami knows that each and every year from June 1 to November 1 is ‘Hurricane Season.’