This is the official blog for Bryan Norcross, Hurricane Specialist at The Weather Channel.
By: Bryan Norcross , 4:48 AM GMT on August 24, 2013
It's just after midnight on August 24th. For those of you that were in South Florida, 21 years ago tonight was a night you'll never forget... and, of course, it was the same for me. At this point, it was clear that Hurricane Andrew was going to be about as bad as any hurricane could be for the part of South Florida that would be hit. And it was clear it was going to happen in Dade County. We had predicted on the air that the winds would pick up around midnight, and that's what happened. That was the point that everyone needed to stay wherever they were and simply, though nothing was simple, ride it out.
Not long after midnight, I was wracking my brain trying to figure out what people could do in their homes to stay as safe as possible. That was when I remembered the book I had read some years before written by L.F. Reardon about his and his family's experiences in the Great Miami Hurricane of 1926. He put his kids in a laundry washtub and put a mattress over them. That had never come to my mind after reading the book, but it came to my mind 21 years ago tonight. Thankfully many of your took that advice... and the mattress made all the difference.
It's hard to imagine, but the hurricane problem is worse today than it was in 1992. There are many more people with much bigger and more expensive property than existed 21 years ago... and our communications systems are much more precarious. In 1992, everybody had a transistor radio and, in spite of the incredible damage, many landline phones in South Dade were still working after the storm. Today, if the cell and internet service goes out, which it likely will in a major hurricane, most people will be stranded without any communications, in or out.
I'm hoping that Hurricane Andrew veterans will make it a mission to be sure that all of their friends and neighbors understand that the worst DOES happen. Encourage them to think ahead and be prepared. If you went through Andrew you know that how you prepare makes a tremendous difference. You can make a difference if you share that knowledge and experience.
For those of you that went through it in South Dade, it was a pivot. Life changed direction and was divided into Before Andrew and After Andrew. And it happened at 4:00 am, August 24, 1992... 21 years ago tonight.
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