Hurricane Harbor

A writer and a tropical muse. A funky Lubavitcher who enjoys watching the weather, hurricanes, listening to music while enjoying life with a sense of humor and trying to make sense of it all!

Friday, September 13, 2013

3 systems in the Atlantic.. Memories of the 1926 Miami Hurricane

Remember that movie... "Anywhere But Here" ???

That's sort of what the tropics are like today and am sure many people are very happy.

Tropically speaking it's a quiet weekend for the USA. Can't promise that the New Madrid Fault doesn't rattle or a volcano doesn't blow or people will continue to feel broken as they clean up from the fires and floods this week in New Jersey and Colorado. But, I can promise no named hurricane is barking at the door terrifying cities filled with people trying to board up and evacuate.

It's been a quiet year in the tropics.

Not quiet in the world. A lot of near wars and exploding devices and problems that weigh on many people's minds. the tropics.. it's quiet for now.

In 1926 Miami many Jewish residents on Miami Beach who started out in places far from tropical systems like Romania and Russia and Hungary began walking to their Temple in the pouring rain for services. The rain was rising so high so fast many couldn't make it. Those who did walked through flooding that was not from the rain, but from the storm surge. The Great Miami Hurricane of 1926 came on Judgement Day in the Jewish Religion. And, they were actually praying in a room on the rooftop of the Nemo Hotel which was just blocks in three directions from the water. A beautiful view on a good day. A horrible perch to be placed on as a hurricane moved towards land. There is a legend that has been confirmed by a few people I interviewed. The wind blew and a window blew open and a dove flew in and sat on the table where the holy books were laid out and the Torah scrolls. An eerie silence filled the room.People battled their way home through the rising water. In those days no one really knew what a hurricane was except for old timers and the old timers were in Miami whereas the Jews on Miami Beach were like most of Miami Beach people.. transients or people who were selling land or selling goods to the people selling land.

All night the wind blew...the water rose and at daybreak the eye came across the land and they found out that many died and many survived and many went out into the storm to check on businesses and families and they died in the storm surge of the second half of the storm. Some tried getting into cars and racing across the cause way to Miami and were swept off the causeway when the tide turned... My uncle was three years old and everyone took refuge in a funeral home built high up off the ground looking like some old big country mansion.  Near 8th Street...people left during the eye to make it into Miami...across the bridge to downtown to check on people...   they were begged by old timers who had lived in Key West, Tampa and Jacksonville and knew what hurricanes could do NOT TO LEAVE. There was more coming... But people left and from the porch of the funeral home they watched as people's cars were swept away with the storm surge as it moved back down the river.

A new generation was born... those who talked of "before the storm" and "after the storm" and there was only one storm that hit downtown Miami dead on like the 1926 Hurricane... a strong Category 4 that Miami has never seen the likes of since. Homestead is far south of downtown Miami and Andrew spared Miami a repeat hit. One day another hurricane will slam into Miami Beach from the East and keep on rolling straight down Flagler Street.

The Jewish calendar is a lunar one... tonight is the anniversary of the Hurricane on that calendar.

For people then nothing was ever the same.. They stayed or they moved... but it was never the same.


A young city only 30 years old, grew up over night in the aftermath of the storm after they buried their dead.

These were what was called the generation of the storm... the young teenagers who remembered.

Every year growing up in Miami on the High Holidays the old timers would stare outside when they heard rain and they would always comment on "The Hurricane" and they would repeat often "Hurricanes and the High Holidays, they always come together"

Well..not this year...

I'll pray for peace and I'll pray everyone feels loved and is loved and that no one has to go through what the residents of Colorado or New Jersey had to deal with this morning.

Sweetest Tropical Dreams..


Ps... and in the Community Church on Miami Beach on Lincoln Road... two men died as they took refuge by the altar, trying to hide from the storm... they died there. Think on that next time you look inside while on Miami Beach taking a walk on Lincoln Road and imagine what it was like during the height of the hurricane. A picture from when there were cards there and tall Jamaican Palms.


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