Tracking the Tropics
Hurricane Andrew remembered as FIU debuts simulator
WEST MIAMI-DADE, Fla. (WSVN) -- As we track Tropical Storm Isaac, we also remember the dark days brought to South Florida by Hurricane Andrew, two decades ago today.
Friday morning, a moment of silence was held before a ribbon-cutting ceremony for Florida International University's Wall of Wind, it's a simulator that creates winds of a category 5 hurricane to test construction material.
Officials said the reason for this machinery is so South Florida does not see another day like Aug. 24, 1992, when category 5 hurricane winds from Hurricane Andrew swept through and leveled some entire communities in Miami-Dade County. "Everything was gone," said Robert Moehling, a Homestead fruit stand owner. "The whole landscape was just flat. Everything from upstairs moved downstairs."
Thousands of people could not believe their eyes once the hurricane passed. "We lived in the same home for about five years and couldn't recognize our own streets, couldn't recognize any landmarks. Everything was flat, and you couldn't get through the roads either," Brad Preston said.
Harris Fields in Homestead, where children now go to play, is where, 20 years ago, people once lined up for food, water and ice. Adolphus Green said he remembers Hurricane Andrew like it was yesterday. "It was a lot of people who helped out a lot in that situation."
People opened up their hearts to strangers and their homes to neighbors. Nora Myers was one of those people. She said, "We had 12 people in our house the first night after the storm because neighbors had broken windows and their roof was missing.
Then-emergency manager, Kate Hale, criticized a slow response to the disaster. Today she said it was heart that pulled us through. "The generosity, the selflessness, the sacrifice of people who are our neighbors," she said at the ribbon-cutting ceremony at FIU.
Now, 20 years later, Florida International University debuted a simulator capable of producing Andrew-strength winds to improve how we build.
FIU said they will open up the use of the Wall of Wind to government agencies as well as to engineering and building industries.
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