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!

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Trio of Trouble in the Tropics. 97L 98L Where's 99L? Carib Wave Could Impact Texas & Mexico. Atlantic Hurricane Soon? Stay Tuned. Today's Blog Mostly Hurricane Andrew Memories From Miami Perspective.


One thing about hurricanes, even Major Canes.
They move on... as this radar loop shows.
They approach and they move on.
What happens in between is a harsh reality of life.
Worst case scenarios really can happen.
Reality bites.
Again this is about perspective.
Louisiana thinks of Andrew as their storm.
Miami people think otherwise.

First I am going to talk on the trio of possibilities in the tropics that could become named storms but the one with the highest probability of forming and impacting the Tex/Mex area hasn't been designated as an Invest yet so I will update on today's tropics later today.  For now know they are there and Ida is in the process of forming somewhere. But today is also the annivsersary of Andrew and that's important to talk on as there are parrallels in ways because Miami had avoided the worst strong hurricanes for a long time and newcomers thought we were safe yet old timers knew we were not and our luck was running out. The parrallel is many Miamians today think they are somehow safe from a direct hit as it has been a long while. Yes, Irma tore things up a bit but it was the fringe of Irma not the eye. When an eye of a Major Hurricane finds you it is like nothing else you have experienced before!

Note TD Marty aka Grace ...still there.

Our trio of possibilities.

Invest 97 and 98 ...
... Invest 99L has not been tagged yet.
Despite the models taking the Carib Wave near Texas.
Maybe Mexico.... models are moody always.
Changing their mind often.

Invest 97L.
Some model pulls West... watch it.
Just in case.

What should become 99L is the Caribbean Wave.
It is currently at 60% for development.
The NOAA product below shows where it goes.
But will it stay low or go to Texas?

Saturday Night.... 
....some models take it into Texas.
More on that later.

This is the ICON model.
Shows 2 storms.
The one in the Atlantic an intense storm.
So while models flip flop.
Read up on some Hurricane History.
Learn from the past.
Knowledge is power!

I'll update later today on models.
On 97L 98L and probably 99L

A bit of honest talk here is that the Internet is rife with people showing every model possible for this area as it could impact the US and areas in it's path. How strong is the high pressure that you can see is anchored over the SE and infact all the way up into Canada! So most likely this unnamed Invest will stay low and head towards the border between Texas and Mexico, but trust me Texans will watch it very carefully! 

Marty, once Grace, is now a depression and Henri has left the room finally. Every YouTuber is showing long range models deep into September showing tropical trouble. Climo along with the pattern this year for Elsa like storms that trace the High and find their way North the way Fred did and Henri did on the East side of the High Pressure have all tried to find landfall.  The real message of today's blog is highlighted by Hurricane Andrew that made landfall on today's date in 1992 at the end of a slow season and a beastly hot summer in Miami. You can try to wish a hurricane away somewhere else but you have to prepare because wishing doesn't often make it so. 

Though Andrew made landfall on August 24th in my mind it was all about the day before, August 23rd stands out in my mind... fell asleep for a few minutes and a best friend in California from when I used to live there called hysterically to ask if we were really getting a Hurricane. I heard the wind had picked up noticeably and told her "yes, gotta go!" and then everything got crazy and I have high standards for "crazy" so yes we really were getting Hurricane Andrew. So I'll blog on the trio of possibilities later but this blog now is mostly on lessons learned from Andrew and memories that remain stuck in my head forever.

The nonstop coverage as Andrew got closer and closer.
That is really what remains in my brain.

How things changed........Tropical Storm Andrew
Barely hanging on for dear life... 

5 DAYS Before Landfall. 

Miami, believe it or not, had gone through years without a real hurricane. Hurricane Floyd in 1987 doesn't really count, and after Hurricane David threatened them and everyone boarded up for David turned away just offshore as have several hurricanes in the last few years and once again Miamians think there is some odd form of hurricane force field and they will all turn away like Dorian and Matthew to name just a few.

Doesn't that track of David look familiar?
Does to many people in Miami today.

Choose your favorite image.
But Miami was in the path of a Catetgory 5 Cane.

In 1992 reality bit hard in South Florida.
Hurricane Andrew on it's way ...
Andrew hovering over Miami.
Studying the aftermath and evaluating it.

I had a friend on AOL who knew he could always get me to talk by asking me about Hurricane Andrew. And, how could I not as I rode it out in an old large house that had been built just before the 1926 Great Miami Hurricane on the "inland" part of Miami Beach (insert hand over face image here) and yes when you live on Miami Beach there is a sense of safety if you live on Sheridan, Royal Palm or Prairie  Avenue vs those streets that line Indian Creek or Collins Avenue. It was a wild night watching the sky turn colors as transformers in Miami across Biscayne Bay blew one by creating arcs of purple and as the patches of darkness to our West grew until our power went out also and we were plunged into darkness as Andrew approached.

Due to the coastline of South Florida and where Andrew took that bobble a bit to the South... Miami Beach jutting out a bit further East got more of Andrew's strongest bands than areas further to the West of us at the same latitutde inland. The bottom of the image above is Key Biscayne where Andrew's eye wall clipped the KB enough to destroy all the incredibly beautiful Austrailian Pine Trees that made it look like a tropical paradise and left it looking as if a nuclear blast had gone off. And that is what an immensely, intense storm surge can do to a barrier island. As the crow flies that eye wall was about five miles from my house on Miami Beach. Downtown Miami got very lucky and downtown's luck was Homestead and South Miami Dade County's misery. Andrew was an intense Category 5 Hurricane, small in size and relatively dry. Buzzsaw like it spun its way across South Florida creating damage from the northernmost Keys to the county line. Though I have met people who told me they went through Hurricane Andrew in Palm Beach and they moved North after that and I think "no you did not go through Andrew, not really" but I don't always correct them when I see the fear in their eyes that the name "Hurricane Andrew" inspires in them.

My memories were in no uncertain order but which randomly come to my mind.

1. Trying to find supplies on Saturday Night after the Jewish Sabbath when people had already gone shopping all day Saturday. The lines in Food Fair on Miami Beach and Publix snaked through the store and every family left some child online to hold their place while they ran around trying to find something that would help get them through the hurricane. Yes, I had stored water all summer as my best friend was insistent we were getting a hurricane but I had 3 kids in diapers (think about it) and needed things people could eat with the power out.  Many were buying ice cream "because they all turn away" and they wanted food while they hunkered down. I told my mother "You CAN'T BUY TOFUTTI! the POWER WILL GO OUT" as she grabbed several chocolate containers of the ice cream like treat. She responded "yes I can and if the power goes out I'll just eat it slowly while it's melting" 

Lesson learned: Never argue with people in a store buying for a Category 5 Hurricane especially if they are a chocoholic!

2. After we found all the food we could find, all the diapers and baby wipes at Walgreens where everyone was buying liquor and water and never thought to buy diapers there luckily my ex-husband and I drove around Miami Beach to look at it "one last time" because truly we didn't think it would hold up so well to a Category 5 Hurricane that at the last minute bobbled just a drop South and spared us the brunt of Andrew. Poignant memories of the Bag Lady who used to hang around South Beach around Collins and 12th Street pushing her shopping cart with her belongings down the street and then stopping a bit to rest by the gas station that still had a bit of gas left that we bought. I thought on what her night might be like but knew from knowing her she didn't approach people or like to be approched and I hoped she'd find some place to be safe in the storm.  

3. Best memory besides hearing the waves of the ocean during the storm (truly wild) along with the moaning, howls of a hurricane was going to the beach just before with my best friend Sharon to watch the waves and feel the wind. The last trickle of tourists making their way Westbound to the Park and Ride Buses to take them to safety clinging to pillows and their possessions in bags and suitcases looking like the Fall of Saigon or the mass frenzy at the airport recently in you know where.  My five year old daughter Miriam somehow hitched a ride with us, Sharon was always partial to her, and she ran up and down the boardwalk arms out screaming in delight acting like she was an airplane taking off or flying. Actually, in restrospect, she takes her little boys to the park by FLL where you can watch the planes land, so she must really love that sound. I always took her to the beach, the wind never scared her but excited her and that's what it is to be a Miami girl.  Wild waves, foam on the beach and the sound of the approaching hurricane with dark skies staying so long for a minute we were afraid we'd have problems getting back across the little 41st Street bridge to safety but we needed one more look. She also told me "I told you we were getting a hurricane and no way that was catching that crappy front" because that's what best friends do they tell you they told you so. I had my father-in-law in town and there was lots of family drama and when Andrew turned he booked a fast last minute flight out of town as he had flown First Class for more leg room and had priviledges (who knew) and so I was a bit distracted and Andrew had been weak and wanting until it turned West and intensified and never looked back. Never count out a struggling storm that stays alive in the same way Hurricane Florence made it across the Atlantic as I knew she would, because I learned from Andrew the strong ones that do not die keep on going.  Grace is now Marty in the Pacific............think on that!

NHC statistics above.
Watch Andrew climb in latitude to 25.60N
Just kept coming as the loop at top shows.

4. Everyone said it wasn't going to hit and was going to catch an unreliable early cold front and be pulled further North and Andrew was not our storm.  I kept thinking on the poor people of Charleston who were just recovering from Hugo and how they could once again get another hurricane. I remembered how Folly Beach looked after Andrew and wondered what my beach would look like a few blocks away. A neighbor who was living across the street who relocated after Hugo drove away insiting we should stay up stairs during Andrew and of course we did. We were fine in retrospect and yes I got to go through a Major Hurricane in my own home, lying on the floor listening to Bryan Norcross and feeling the floor boards vibrate just a drop at the height of the storm and when the house did take those strong gusts and the hurricane howled I could occasionally hear the sound of waves crashing on the beach in the wind! Honest, for sure not imagining that. After the storm passed and we ventured outside I could not believe there was not a drop of water downstairs as I have been through many a hurricane and chased some so it was bizzare to see everything dry. And all the destruction on Miami Beach untalked about on National TV luckily for the Tourist Commission. Not sure who they paid off but it worked! Miami Beach, in my area especially, had huge, old trees of all kinds that went down left and right everywhere. Ficus trees fall over and take up half the lawn with them oddly. Straggler Figs struggle to stay upright but lean at odd angles their huge frames knocking out the power lines. Austrailian Pines do not bend like Palm Trees usually do and some fell on my friend's house but just clipped her roof doing little damage but looking scary.  The point of reference on the map above is approximately where a friend's large A Frame rooftop for her modern Tahitian looking home blew off and landed in her neighbor's pool who lived on Pine Tree Drive, probably the same strong cell of gusts that took down large branches from the Australian Pines.

One of my closest friends lived in that corner house.
There was a gigantic ficus tree that fell...
...and missed the new 2nd story addition.
It fell early on from East to West lucky for them.
It rotted in the hot sun until October when they cleaned it up.
After the storm is usually way worse than the real storm.
Everyone's asthma and allergies were wrecked for months.

My friend Faigy's house with the branches on her roof.
We got very lucky in Andrew.
And what looks like a mess ...was luck.
Others in Homestead were not as lucky.
Luckily we didn't go to our friends in Kendall ...
...their house had severe damage. 

Trees grow back.

Smelly, spoiling debris moldy in the September sun afterwards.
They didn't pick up the debris by me until Sukkos.
Jewish Holiday... Mid October that year.

I just wanted "normal" again.
Best comment by my daughter ...
...on an old blog on Andrew.

That was AFTER the water was turned back on.
Before that I made them go out when it rained.
To get clean... because we had no water at first.
It was play in the rain or go to the beach nearby.
Island living at it's best!

I've written often on Andrew so this is partly for me and party for those who know who they are that love to hear the memories of reliving a real hurricane and Andrew was that as it was a real Category 5 Hurricane that despite the destruction it caused took a kind path for a Miami area landfall as that area in South Dade contained farmland and acres of nurseries as well as part of the Everglades as well as miles of subdivisions where people lived but not as dense a population as say going West down 8th Street in the Little Havana part of Miami where many lived in very old apartment buildings. The Great Miami Hurricane of 1926 was not so kind and remains downtown Miami's real Category 4 landfall. I'd appreciate it if the powers that be keep Miami safe from such hurricanes in the future but Andrew taught me that not all curve away and sometimes a worst case scenario happens and the high builds in and there are no cold fronts to stop it from slamming right into your boarded up, frightened home town!

Love ya all ...especially whoever is still reading this :) and know that we have only just begun to have the 2021 Hurricane Season. If you have babies or toddlers buy diapers now and hide them. Buy snacks, refill soda bottles or water bottles and store them away. Refill your prescriptions do not wait for the last minute, if you need inhalers and have asthma get two as the mold that grows and bakes in the hot sun afterwards for weeks will wreck your health for the rest of the year. My daughter-in-law who spent Andrew as a little girl in the bathtub with her mother and brother and a mattress over them as their father held the door in the bathroom hoping it would not blow open has a hurricane strategy of her own.... she gets out of town on the plane and flies away as she never wants to go through that again; talking a real Major hurricane she's not interested.  She flew off to my daughter Dina with her baby Charlotte and my son drove to me with Benjamin who got a hurricane holiday with Grandma and many of his aunts and uncles who drove to Raleigh rather than stay through Irma that many thought would hit Miami dead one but another one that did cause damage but mostly turned away.  Sets up a bad pattern for people who think it will never happen, trust me once in a while they do not turn away and make landfall. Prepare now please!

Besos BobbiStorm
@bobbistorm on Twitter and Instagram.
I'll proof later and update with a new blog later today on which of the 3 areas of interest could be the one to leave the most memories. 

Ps My then ten year old Levi was slightly injured in Andrew as he insisted on sleeping in the girl's bedroom that faced East and had an airconditioning unit that tenuously stayed in the window that was borded up and he refused to leave. As the storm got crazy Dina and her sister Shayna pulled Levi by his legs (he's a very heavy sleeper) across the carpet into the inner hallway where we were all staying and the back of his head slammed into the little doorstop to which he woke up cursed and complained the rest of the night that he was "fine" where he was... and yeah the room was fine in retrospect but I felt better having all the kids with me in one spot upstairs in the huge hall way by the main bathroom in the old house that had lived through the 1926 hurricane! It's a memory me and my ex-husband will never forget watching over the children as the wind howled and we found out the eye had in fact gone to South Dade and spared Miami Beach in ways hard to explain because Miami Beach was beaten up badly with all the signage and lights down, dead power lines strung across the street and without power or water or phone service for a long time. 


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