Hurricane Andrew 1992


I remember......

Once you have survived any natural disaster or tramatic event you are nevcr the same, you never really forget.  If you are fortunate the experience moves to the back of your mind.  You regroup, pick up the pieces of your life, & move on.


After picking our way out of the rubble we drove over a shattered landscape in a badly damaged truck, (thanking God we had survived) searching for refuge.  Miles away, we made the trip back daily to salvage what was left of our former lives, as did everyone else.  More fortunate than many, my school had faired better than most.  My principal insisted we start, giving the students ( and us teachers, too) a sense of normalcy and someone to share our experiences.


Today, 20 years later, having rebuilt our lives, Hurricane Andrew is but a memory - still there but thankfully far away.......Rosie


Water Tower
This is around the Florida City water tower.  It was a large trailer park next to the school playground. Only one trailer is still standing.  There are a few with the floor & toilet left. the people are either gone , living with relatives in Miami or living in the tent city the Army has provided.


Coin Laundry

Strip mall

streetside debris
Mountains of debris on every street. Many cars, trucks & buses turned over  in our area near Krome Ave. & road to Everglades National Park., parts of Homestead and Florida City.

field

Homestead somewhere
Don't know where in Homestead this was taken. No street signs anywhere - all landmarks gone.

Poinciana tree
These were huge poinciana trees planted outside our fence. The leaves are all gone, as well as some of the trees. Most of the trees & groves around here are gone. Those that survived have trunks & little else, thought with all the rain we've had, leaves are beginning to come back on a few.  All the big trees in our yard are gone- fruit, palm, Australian pines. The tiny orange trees survived though have no leaves yet.  The lime trees were stripped - even the bark.

backyard
Standing in the backyard days after the hurricane. Those  are our oranges & grapefruit trees, pulled out - even the roots, the fruit oddly dropped striahgt down.  Every leaf & every branch has been stripped from the trees. many trees look as if they were sandblasted - the bark entirely gone. The background trees were avacado.

Jim's room

Jim's room.  There is no window glass - The metal Rolladin shutter is gone too. The full size bed has been tossed around, the matress upside down wedged against the door. The bottom & side of the matress & box springs imbedded with tons of shards of glass. The white spots on the wall are pieces torn from books on library shelves. The're "gl;ued" to the walls,  even after drying will not come off unless scraped & scrubbed. Under the bed parts & all over he room are hundreds of books torn to shreds and glued together by the water. Within a couple of days they were a solid block of glued together pages. Above the window the roof is gone for about 5'. We had to force our way into this room.  It seemed that everything was against the door we had wired closed.






Courtesy of RGFRosie
Landfill

Mountains of trash. The roads are clogged with huge dump trucks & land clearing machinery.  They have cleared acres of farm land along Krome Ave. just outside Homestead.  Gigantic fires burn day & night, burning the uprooted trees & building matierals that used to be homes, & furniture so mangled you really can't tell what they were.  The fires are at least 1/2 mle long, 2-3 stories high & that wide too.  It is a scene from Hell!

Animals
We had chickens, ducks, a cow, & a turkey that  wandered by & stayed for a while.We fed them what we had.Then they moved on.

plywoodside

A 2x4 about 4' long was impalled in the bedroom wall - sticking out  on both sides of the wall.  A friend had a butter knife from inside the house found in the yard embedded in a pine tree.  Special hurrican shutters (Roladin) were ripped off most of the windows, yet held on others.

Porch

Another view of the same side of the house that was damaged the worst (west side). The air conditioner was in the missing room wall.  There was also a huge fiddle leaf fig tree outside the window. Don't have any idea where it went. There were 3-4 large staghorns hanging in the tree.  We found one - the center ball about 2 1/2' in diameter, down the street in the next block - not one leaf left on it. Jim brought it home & is trying to nurse it back to health.

Dozer in the backyard
A neighbor tried to clean up our yard (front) a little but there was too much and he needed to care for his family. Later the army came in with some men & cleared the front yard. Still later a group from college (mine in CT-my neice had told them of our ordeal) came to help clear the back yard enough so we could put in a trailer.

Workshop

This is the workshop area under the house that white wall was blown over and moved 5' or so, Jim;s wood lathe which weighs at least 600 lbs is tipped over under the wall. The bolts into the cement floor were torn out. The downstairs ceiling is out & many tools are either just gone with the wind, broken, or a few were found down in the back yard. The 12" steel beams that are the "Stilts" to support the house came out & cracked the poured concrete blocks  2'x2'x3' high they were anchored to. 2 months later this still looks pretty much the same. When it rained the water dripped through the roof, throught the upstairs floor, and down into the tools until Jim put plastic on the roof.  Now it leaks only where the roof is actually so buckled the rain gathers in the plastic and finds a way in.  We never have found our metal garage door.

porch

What looks like a porch had a room around & above it. It;s gone, along with the roof to the right over the window. There is no glass. The white wood underneath is part of the missing room. Who knows what happened to the rest,. Underneath where you can see throught the litter, there used to be walls & Jim's workshop. The tree was taller than the house. The generator Jim rented  was somewhere under all the mess.  The houses look like they[re not too badly off in many cases, need an umbrella inside, all windows are gone, the things are a sodden mess thrown in broken heaps around the rooms. Then it poured for days, the walls turned black with mold & mildew, the carpets squished & grew slippery, then  grew  plants from seeds blown in by the wind. Then began the cleanup, tear down, salvaging, & waiting for adjusters.


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