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!

Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Last Day of August - No Named Storms. Will 91L Ever Get a Name? Large Wave Complexes Take Longer To Develop. Subtropical Storm Forming? Moisture in Carib, Near Africa & Odd Altantic Spin Ups Singing Follow the Leader...

91L 80%
Subtropical small system 70%

A few days ago I posed the possibility of the small little circle that was yellow that was anchored in the Atlantic becoming a steering factor for the big, huge lumbering wave known as Invest 91L that we have tracked for what seems forever now.  Kind of like a tugboat that pulls larger, powerful ships out to sea from the Port of Miami this little Subtropical System could infact save Labor Day for many beach towns along US Coastline.  And, it could actually steal the name Danielle which would be comical and perfectly normal for 2022. Keep watching. Models below. You can see the follow the leader scenario below.

A lot going on there more than 91L

While 91L lumbers its way across the Atlantic there have been several events that have weakened the Western edge of the High Pressure that has pushed 91L steadily West.  At some point an avenue for escape may open up and allow this system to trace the coastline out to sea and move up into the North Atlantic. That is not a given, not a lock and not set in stone but it could easily happen. 

More difficult to answer is if and when 91L will develop.
Where will it develop?
Which part of it's very, extremely elongated center will develop?
Could it split into two systems? (People have asked me that)
What will the steering currents be down the road?
Which road? Depends on how far East or West this is when it develops.

In Real Estate they say that everything is about location. That's true. My son who is a Realtor with Compass down in Miami has a Penthouse at the Fountainbleau to sell to you if you are interested in the best view up in the sky in all directions of Miami Beach. While Hialeah can be fun and Pembroke Pines nice in a boring way, you will not get a 360 degree view of sunrise and sunset on the most beautiful part of Miami Beach anywhere better than there. It's a sweet spot some would say for sun lovers.

There are sweet spots in the Atlantic also that seem to spin up strong hurricanes from weak wandering waves. There's an area in the Bahamas, or rather just to the NW of it, where storms tend to stall waiting for their ride out of town or a forecasted strong cold front to collapse and then spend two days showing off their Major Hurricane Status in said sweet spot! Often this happens after some Invest has lumbered along never able to get it's act together. This area produced the 1935 Labor Day Hurricane, Andrew and Katrina as well as refreshing Jeanne after she traipsed across Hispaniola and refused to die. A fairly weak system but she only intensified into a force to behold after looping in this area near the Bahamas. Perhaps it's some Bermuda Triangle Energy, who knows? See Jeanne below. 

Note the mess that is 91L below.
Actually two areas vying for attention.
One to the NE and one to the SW.
In theory the one further North wins.
Let's hope so......

Still elongated, not ready yet.

It's been a strange summer.
The big wide view.

Wave off Africa (like always)
91L slowest mover ever.
Subtropical messy Low
Actually African wave looks way better than 91L

But I have learned never to count out stubborn systems.
So stay tuned.
I'm packing.
Saying goodbye.
Spoke last night at a ceremony .....
....for my best friend who passed away.
Hugged the kids.
Hugged my friends.
Waved goodbye to Miami at Sunrise.
And, have to finish packing.

I'll update when the NHC updates.
Til then.... always time will tell!

Besos BobbiStorm
@bobbistorm on Twitter and Instagram

Not hinting the bayou will get a hurricane.
The song is just stuck in my head this morning!!

Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Invest 91L 80% at Noon But Will Odds Be Lowered Later? Models Mostly Recurve It ... Too Soon To Tell. Can It Find a Sweet Spot...

Above is days ago.
A tighter signature.
Trying to close off a center.
Below is yesterday.
Large system, less organized.

This morning....

Actually looks a bit better today.
Why it's 80% is beyond me.
Maybe 60% or 70%

Just battling a lot of negative elements.
And it's huge and has multiple centers.
Vying for attention.
Shear there.
ULL ate away at it.

Wrote this last night.
After putting up #icantijustcant

This whole episode known as Invest 91L has been hard to swallow. For days there was barely any "there" there and they keep upping the odds. I get the models kept seeing things but the shear has been high literally tearing apart anything that tries to form. The bigger a wave is the harder it is to pull together, it's been cruising so slow it looks like a cruise ship whose engine died and it's just pushing along to the West with the current.  

While "home" in Miami trying to catch as many kids, grandkids and friends as I can in a few days I have barely sat by the computer and looped. I jump on the phone, off the phone, on the phone. I hate waves that do this because either they drain everyone and lower people's guard down thinking "nothing is forming this year" or some part of the energy suddenly winds up and develops quickly. I can't see that happening. I jumped on the computer this morning to catch a part of Mike talking (he talks long easy to catch him) and this is the shear map that we aren ALL looking at wondering how any model could see this getting closer to the Island and USA as a developing system. Red/yellow/orange is shear and there's literally a wall of shear.

Jim puts it simply.
Crazy models don't kill it off yesterday ...

These are the models currently.
They don't kill it off (interestingly)
They show it recurving.
Gaining in latitude.
Yes, some models seem to want to go West.

If there is an area where this wave known as Invest 91L can gain traction it will take advantage of that as it tends to be a fighter and was a good candidate for the next named storm after breaking record after record for going nameless in the Caribbean. When I say Caribbean I mean "generally West Indies, Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico" that place that harbors tropical storms that explode into nasy Hurricanes.

Sometimes what you get in the Bahamas close in or just near there isn't what you see in the distant Atlantic. 

Honestly, surprised the NHC has it at 80% but imagine they want to run a few more models before walking it back down some. Perhaps get closer to fly recon into it. Not sure. 

The problem with big systems with multiple centers along an axix vying for superiority is that IF a system forms and takes hold further to the NE than a track out to sea is more likely, should a center form further SW far from the previous center further away from the Shear Zone than the track gets pulled further West. Easy to ask.. "Why won't it just go West with the flow into the Caribbean?" The answer is that the shear there at the entrance to the Caribbean is rather strong if a piece of the energy did go that way another part might keep heading NW along with the models. It's really a crap shoot with a crappy Invest, but I have seen crappy Invests and or depressions turn into Hurricane Harvey and Jeanne looked to be totally gone, regrouped and made landfall in Florida as a hurricane so until it's totally dead in the water with the last cloud of moisture evaporated into the dry air above it... just keep watching it while going about life and living. 

Til then sitting by the river....
watching the boats go up and down the river.
Revisiting old haunts with my kids.
Hoping to see close friends tonight.
Waiting to see what happens in the tropics.

So far the season forecasts are losing badly.
Maybe October will deliver home more than we bargained for.

Sweet Tropical Dreams,
@bobbistorm on Twitter and Instagram.

As always in the city that was built in the Roaring 20s...
... I'm in a Roaring 20s mood.
Talked to an Old Timer Last night about the 1926 Hurricane.
Some people remember, others refuse to believe it'll happen again.  link to video on 1926 Miami Hurricane if you had problems loading the above video. Watch... it'll happen again. I'm sure but it'll be different as they always are. Similar but different. 

Monday, August 29, 2022

91L 80% Chances... Danielle Name Coming Closer to Being Used. What Is With the Small Yellow X Anchored in the Atlantic. Models & Forecast Track Possibilities.

Models as of 10 AM Monday


This is the main point of this morning's discussion (words not the images) from the NHC regading Invest 91L. It's a large disorganized tropical wave

"A broad area of low pressure over the central tropical Atlantic is producing a large area of disorganized cloudiness and showers.Although environmental conditions are only marginally favorable,"

I know it's kind of a disconnect that everyone online is arguing about where Danielle will go and yet currently it's large, disorganized and has only a "marginal" chance, but in 2022 there's actually something to talk about so everyone is talking about it.

To newbies on the tropical weather scene this must seem strange, and if it doesn't catch your attention you are missing part of the story. So let's discuss it.

The small Yellow circle sits there in the middle of the Atlantic, basically anchored to the spot for now where the Huge High has been all summer. The image above almost looks like a ring of moisture with nothing "there" that is supposed to develop into a Tropical Storm yet alone a Hurricane. Invest 91L has 50% chances in the 2 day and 80% chances in the 5 day. The little yellow X "marks the spot" has a low 10% chance in the whole five day window period and yet it's mere presence could be a game changer.

91L is large and still disorganized, it could organize in different ways. Would it be a strong, well developed storm or a messy storm with multiple centers like a large cruise ship with a lot of people with Covid and battling bad weather conditions across the Atlantic or a streamlined vessel with no problems cruising along towards a clear destination. The little yellow X weakens the High Pressure ridge and could allow it an avenue of escape from a destination that has "Landfall" written all over it! And, as always remember Bermuda is often in that "escape route" from "landfall" on the East Coast. 

So the long track of 91L moving fairly slowly gets it to where the little yellow X is anchored and creating a disturbance in the force. Will that disturbance in the force be enough or will the High snap back and shut down the little weak yellow x and force 91L towards a landfall destination?n 

Only time will tell.

Until it forms and we see what we have it's like playing a Fantasy Game, not Prime Time.

There's a lot of questions. If the front stalls out and delivers epic rainfall for the next week and the high pressure ridge weakens then the lower pressure should draw in possible Danielle towards landfall. But if a new stronger front pushes the older front away then Danielle would curve away. But that's an awful lot of rainfall without a tropical system. This graphic bugs me.

As for models... don't buy a killer hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico or just off the Carolinas, but also don't believe it's gone and everyone is safe because the model you like most drops it on it's next run. Model prediction is only as good as the length of it's run, it's next run can be slightly different or tell a whole new story.

BUT........once a true center has formed, established itself, taken root so to speak and it begins to build up into the atmosphere and better data from Recon is put into the models do the models get a real handle on what it will most likely do.

Stay tuned.

Besos BobbiStorm
@bobbistorm on Twitter and Instagram

Ps so so true.

Sunday, August 28, 2022

Sunday AM - 70% RED in the ATLANTIC & 3 Other Areas Being Watched.. Labor Day Weekend and Hurricanes.....


This is the 2 day.
This is the 5 day.

Oh look at that!
This is why you never just look at the 2 day.
Main Page shows 2 yellow areas.
Click on the 5 day link.
"OMG 70%!!!!"
Thoughts run thorugh your head.
West...then WNWN.
This could be a problem.
Hasn't formed.
Still lacking.
Time will tell.

Well, that could be a problem.

Chick is from NC.
He is weighing in early this morning.
That tells me something.

The models definitely show it as a threat to the coastline, however they also show avenues of escape that would allow it to curve away. The truth is until it forms, wraps up and has a center we won't k now for sure. It's a bit of a mess, yet it looks like it's smirking at us in that image Chick posted above. Kind of a warning shot across our bow to get our attention. Check out our hurricane supplies, think again on a plan. And, obviously hope it curves gracefully out to sea. Hurricanes (this is not even a tropical depression yet) can be like those wild carnival rides, a roller coaster of emotion as you feel the adrenaline rush and the excitement flow and then you go down the drop and it coasts into it's stall waiting for the next person to terrify for the next 3 minute ride. And, other times like Andrew or Katrina they rip you to shreds and rip away your false sense of security.

Where does it form?
When does it form?
What are the steering currents like when it forms, where it forms???
Are the steering currents locked in or wonky and models show multiple possibilities.

Don't know yet, too soon to tell.

But what I will say is the water is incredibly warm, warmer than usual for this time of year up and down the East Coast, but especially UP the coast.

Accuweather brought this up this morning.
I don't think they just wanted to warn you "that water is warm"
It could be a problem if it real hurricane took a run at the coast.

I'll update later toay.
At my daughter's house in Hallandale.
Hallandale is young now, fun, near the beach.
Beautiful modern condo complexes with awesome pools.
Some of the kids are coming over.

Yesterday was awesome. I've had two best friends since the late 1980s after I moved back to Florida from California. We've been through a lot together the three us, mostly funny times and hard times. Three weeks ago Sharon passed away leaving us sad as if we lost a sister. This week there is a commemoration for Sharon so in town for that along with other happy events. My friend and I had fun, large Sabbath dinner with friends talking, the two of us had long talks, walks and we even danced the Charletson last night and it was fun to be silly again. Stayed up late like kids, woke up late and my daughter is cooking breakfast for a family brunch. I'm not going to talk on the tropical depression forming (unless they bring it up) and that a named hurricane could be headed towards Florida, Carolinas, East Coast and who knows if it would threaten Florida or the Florida Keys it could get into to Gulf of Mexico. There are just so many options and possibilities, because honestsly it has not pulled together for us to know just what we have on special on Labor Day Weekend for a tropical buffett. Just too soon to tell, but Labor Day is the time frame that everyone blows it a kiss as it passes by or runs for cover and to get out of town!

Stay tuned....
...Back soon!

@bobbistorm on Twitter and Instagram

Ps..........Sharon's granddaughter's name is Daniella so pretty sure in one way or the other Danielle in the Atlantic may grab everyone's attention while at Sharon's commemoration Sholoshim program her kids are making for Tuesday Night. song to enjoy while trying not to obsess. If you have a beach somewhere, I'd suggest you get out there and enjoy it!

No proofing while on vacation, need to go help set the table for 10 people....

Friday, August 26, 2022

ICON Showing Possibilities. EURO Showing Something. GFS 18Z Is Like Panic At the Disco. Sooner or Later Something Will Develop...


There's a disconnect here between what you see...
...and what is being watched.

There's a weak system in the Carib 20%
There's a system off Africa 30%
There's a blob stealing the show... 0%
All that glitters isn't gold I suppose!

Nothing much has changed. I'm on "vacation" in Miami and jumping on and off to look at loops, models and discussion yet nothing really has changed. Maybe a third area gets added to the mix and there's a larger tropical buffet. In ANY OTHER year I'd be screaming "any day now!!!" yet this is 2022 and there's not even an Invest (any hour or day now) and models continue to promise distant development and then delay the development another day or two endlessly. Every year is different, I've always said that, my long time readers know I always make the joke about Cabbage Patch Dolls each different and unique. 2022 Hurricane Season definitely on the unique side. 

Models show distant development, both the ICON (praised of late for sniffing out development) and the King EURO both show a wave develops in the Atlantic. The GFS always ready to party shows several Lows, possible storms and a "oh my gosh hurricane" in the same ocean. 

ICON shows 2 closed Lows.
Storms forming.
A huge high in place.

EURO shows 1 closed Low.
Storm development. 
A HUGE High in place.

THE GFS is offering Panic at the Disco.
If you prune it back you can say...
...maybe 2 systems to worry on.
Or just wait for the next run.
Hasn't been the most reliable model this year.

It's logical to believe that something, somewhere will form and it will move slowly across the Atlantic towards the East Coast. Then depending on the location of a front it will either be a landfalling threat or curve out to sea with a front. People from Miami to OBX will be watching carefully if anything forms. As for the Carib threat, if waves can't develop in the Atlantic but stay together enough it's likely one will get into the Caribbean and become a force to reckon with and I can almost promise sometime over the next 6 weeks that will be a problem. Eventually that's likely to happen but will it happen the way the GFS promises every other run? Probably not, but it is sniffing out a pattern that could happen. Take it with way too much salt to make any meal palatable....

I went to the beach this morning around 6 AM and my younger kids and I watched the sky change colors from Twilight to Dusk to Daylight, it was awesome. Last night we hung out in Downtown Miami and walked around the Design District for hours snacking, talking and walking. At "home" in Miami touching base and trying to do as much as possible, while hanging out and having fun. I'm watching the tropics and following the discussion but really there isn't anything to talk about until something forms. And, as always as I say where that forms and what sort of system it is (stacked vertically or a blobby mess) will make all the difference.

I'll update when I can if there is something new, otherwise have the best weekend and enjoy what you have while you got it and do what makes you happy!

Besos BobbiStorm
@bobbistorm on Twitter and Instagram

Ps... enjoy the song, next time you watch the 18Z GFS remember it's not a promise just a suggestion or merely tropical dreams. At some point, the GFS will be on the money but til then just keep window shopping!

Thursday, August 25, 2022

Waiting on one area to be an Invest. 20/20 on 2 Yellow Circles in the 5 Day. Model Madness and Reality. What Do I See? Lowered Pressures. MJO. A Definitely Maybe! NHC Playing Hardball This Year!!


20/20 chances in the 5 day.
Kind of looks like goal posts.
Interestingly same latitude.
Yellow Xs lined up.
Doesn't tell the whole story tho.

Note that the 2 yellow Xs do not tell the whole story. They look like Goal Posts and I want to say "kick it between the uprights!!" Seriously though there is a huge area of leftover convection from the previous wave that didn't develop, but maintains convection. Whether it has a chance of development or not, it definitely will keep the Atlantic West of our highlighted wave so it has less SAL to deal with as it moves West. Either way the wave off of Africa is a nice size healthy with a 20% chance in the 5 day. Further West is the smaller system entering the Caribbean that came from dubious backgrounds but is still a player.  Systems that form off of South America is not that rare, though this set up was more rare but either way it's very rare as in undercooked, not done yet!

The GFS 18Z Wild Ride Model Run showed this system developing way down the line in the Caribbean as it did several wild dance steps, leaps and arabesques before developing into a dangerous hurricane moving into the Gulf of Mexico. Today the same model, but a different run, has is way toned down as if someone wrote it a Rx for Oxycodone and yet it's still trying to swirl around the SW Carib, flirt with a high jump over towards the Pacific and then settling back down for staying in the Atlantic Basin.  Bizarre.

Sometimes the GFS puts out absurd, otherworldly scenarios that look as if it's on Crack and people want to smack it or send it back to the shop for a reboot. Easy to make fun of the GFS but what it's job is ... is to sniff out development far outside the normal range of models. For instance it can show an unbelievable forecast where some weak wave turns into a violent hurricane close to land delivering 50 feet of rain, everyone makes fun of it and then after it happens everyone is sudennly quiet. And, while it doesn't pan out exactly as the original "crazy model run" sometimes part of that model run does verify down the road.  Did I mention it's Harvey Anniverary today on this run of Prime Time in the Tropics ... Hurricanes that developed and made landfall. And, if you want to say "good" because we don't need THAT much weather, be aware the South has been struggling with intense flooding and nonstop rain without a named storm.

When I look at the GFS shown above.
My take away is this.
WOW a lot of MOISTURE in the CARIB/GOM
I don't look at it like a HURRICANE could form. 
I see it as LOW PRESSURE. Nothing more.

Small closed Low.

The Euro seen as the more reliable sibling shows nothing of substance forming in the Atlantic for a while. True, it doesn't go out as far as the GFS, that makes it usually more reliable.

The ICON shows this for 9/02.
No acrobatic tropical storms in the GOM.

What do I see?

I see that the ULL area filled with convection near the Bahamas is becoming one with the FRONT. I see the lead wave that has 20% passing through the Islands, maintaining convection and on the loops it has a bit of a twist, no fancy dance steps but it's a beginning or rather it has a chance. The wide, large, huge area of convection brigtly colored doing a Can Can dance not getting any love from the NHC out ahead of the new wave off of Africa with 20% chances in the 5 day.

Basically nothing new. The NHC has not even designated it yet as an Invest as of 3 PM on Wendesday, neither of them as Invests. The NHC seems to be playing hardball this season and hard to get and that's not a bad thing.  Either they will develop or they won't and if they don't "why not" and why are we so slow with an MJO in a forecast busy season with recod low ACE?

Yet we have all the weather, flooding without a hurricane.
Mother Nature always finds a way.

You want to bet on the new wave off of Africa.
Go for it.

The small neatly packed South American system?
Go for it.

Again the most interesting area....
... doesn't have it's yellow wings back.

I'm on vacation in the Miami area and seeing various familiy memories and driving past old haunts that look better today than they looked years back. Kind of like this area in the Atlantic that's catching everyone's attention yet is being ignored.

It's been a strange year. Either the tropics ignite this week while the MJO is in town or something was seriously wrong with the models predicting 2022 to be a very busy year.

I'll update again soon. I'm curious on many levels, curiously watching but not obsessing.

Sweet Tropical Dreams...
... maybe be the only tropical anything you get this year ;)  j/k
@bobbistorm on Twitter and Instagram.
Twitter mostly weather and Instagram a whole lot whatever especially this trip in Miami.

Wednesday, August 24, 2022

2 Possible Tropical Problems. Model Madness How to Cope? Hurricane Andrew Memories... Lessons Learned ...

20/20 chances in the 5 day.

This odd run was earlier.
Now it's just one big wave developing.
Earlier models showed a Carib storm hitting S FL.
Now they have that storm in the GOM
Threatening Louisiana and Texas.
Next run who knows?

Currently the storm shows up more to the West.
Forms in the Caribbean... leans West.
Misses Miami unlike previous runs.
Makes a bee line for La/Tx line.
Next run?
Who knows...
Cuba/South Florida?

It hasn't formed.
Now is your time to prepare in case ... 

Think of the models like a 5 year old child that you ask "what would you like to do when you grow up" and the response is "doctor" or "fireman" or "policewoman" or "actor" notice how no kid ever says "accountant" "programmer" "clerk at Belks" or "manager of a bookstore"   ................the same way...............everyone always thinks in a previous lifetime they were Alexander the Great or Cleopatra. LONG RANGE models are like that kid and on every model run or every other model run a hurricane will hit New Orleans, Miami or Houston if not going up the East Coast and slamming into North Carolina.

Models change often, but what you need to pay attention to is consistent long range trends on multiple models. Moisture in the Caribbean with a possible low forming or a wave staying alive with closed isobars from run to run. When the GFS drops it's main hurricane it's been showing for days and suddenly the EURO finds it and runs with it, then you know you might have a problem.

But until IT forms, it is just a model making guesses on each run. Weak waves go further West that's just the way it works. An Upper Level Low can either rip it apart or enhance it so watch Upper Level Lows, they are game changers.  Pay attention to those you trust both regionally and otherwise but don't panic because a run 7 to 10 days away shows a hurricane might be on it's way to you, but don't ignore it either. 

Hurricane Prep is the name of the game. 
Having a plan is the best game plan you can have.
Have a back up plan.
a) Do we really need to evacuate...where do we go?
b) If we don't have to evacuate what do we need to do?
Have an extra month of meds and an extra inhaler for asthma always in Hurricane Season.

Today is the official 30th anniversary of Hurricane Andrew. People asked for my thoughts, knowing I went through it and have written about it over time.  So the rest of the blog are my Hurricane Andrew Memories written in the way hurricanes really happen. Before the Hurricane has certain highpoints, during the Hurricane and the After the Storm goes on forever and ever it seems as it takes forever it seems to put normal back together again!

Have fun... hope you learn something that is helpful for you should a hurricane be chasing you. When people ask me "isn't it dangerous to chase storms" I tell them I don't chase Major Hurricanes I stay home and write on then blog and live on Twitter, but yes I chase storms and lower level hurricanes or have with friends over time. My kids are grown up, I remarried and live in North Carolina and our beaches are prone to an ample supply of weather to always be following. Often I am in Miami one of the popular places on the hit parade of landfalling storms and hype during Hurricane Season.

Again it's always best to chase a hurricane carefully than to have a hurricane chase you to your own home where your family lives. 


What can be said that hasn't been said about Hurricane Andrew. Highlights dance through my mind of Hurricane Andrew. 

Before the Storm:
Everything switched immediately as Andrew changed directions and intensified rapidly. I do the Jewish Sabbath thing so we had the news off until after sunset on Saturday. On Friday afternoon all the channels were "SURE" it wasn't a Miami storm due to some weak. Often I'd leave a weather radio on quietly somewhere that would run until the battery died, but they were "sure" it wasn't a Miami storm and again had out of town company. The  Cold Front that looked to grab it away. Bryan Norcross opened up the possibility at his 6 PM broadcast that the new Aviation model showed a different possibility. House filled with guests, I took a break and went to a friend late in the day to talk, have some tea and as I walked back just after sunset I turned left on 34th Street and Prairie and felt the strong, steady rush of ocean air coming in from the East on that street and I knew in my gut the forecast had changed. The wind was a bit strong earlier, tho a strong breeze from the ocean on Miami Beach is not that rare, but just a few hours later it as blowing as if steady as if someone had turned up the setting on the fan to full strength. Pretty much ran the rest of the way down the block got into the house just as "Shabbos" was over and yelled "turn on TWC" and the rest is pretty much history. The phone rang ... obviously my best friend hurricane partner in crime called telling me she was right it didn't catch the "stupid front" as she was prone to calling it. My father-in-law found a plane ticket out of town and grabbed it fast and left.

We went shopping and when I say "shopping" I mean it was more a "grab anything that's left to grab that's not perishable" with every friend you had that also just found out Andrew was going to be a Major Hurricane aiming straight for the Magic City of Miami. People parked their older kids or their spouse in lines that wrapped around the store, the noise within the store with everyone running about talking loudly was similar to the roar of a hurricane coming at you fast. No diapers, few paper products and even less canned tuna or peanut butter; most non-perishables had been grabbed by the first Andrew shoppers who saw the forecast change in real time Saturday morning. Yes, I had stuff squirred away but I also had a lot of kids (nine to be exact and one a 6 month old baby) and there is only so much you can squirrel away and hide from the older kids who would find hurricane supplies as if they were on search and destroy missions for the Army.

Ran home with groceries, went to a Walgreens that mostly catered to tourists looking for snacks or medication to go with the booze they bought next door at the liquor store and grabbed the last of the diapers and baby wipes (buy lots of baby wipes) and went on automatic boarding up the house, figuring out what to do and trust me there's lots of figuring before a Hurricane. 

Sharon, my best friend, of course had her friends from Crown Heights Brooklyn staying at her house and needed a radio as her battery operated radio died at an inopportune time (her 9 kids probably broke it but I digress) and so I gave her my spare Pepsi Cola Radio from the Pepsi Cola Plant in Miami that used to sell souveniers and a whole bunch of batteries. Then Sharon and I ran to the ocean, driving past tourists and other people who live on Miami Beach working the hotels walking with their many belongings from Collins Avenue, over the bridge that crosses Indian Creek on their way to the Park N Ride buses that would take them in theory to safety. My five year old Miriam was with us as we walked against the strong steady wind onto the boardwalk and stood there looking at the ocean whipping up crazy, gray foamy waves to heights rarely seen on Miami Beachs. Sea foam, not something used to vacationing in Miami, was blowing across the beach. My daughter pretended to be a plane with her arms out wide running in circles. Sharon and I talked, watched, thought in unison over what the next few hours would bring.  Got home, gave her more batteries and wished her well.  The neighbors who lived across the street on their way to Miami Shores across the Bay screamed out we should get up high, higher than the storm surge might be. Sweet people, yes I knew that, they had gone through Hugo before moving to Miami so they had their own nightmares dancing in their head.

I sat there remembering the terrified look on a new news anchor to Miami trying to give information on Andrew as they played the loop over and over with it lunging towards Miami and wondered if she was okay and if she'd stay in Miami very long after Andrew. Before and after Hurricanes is when you find out who wants to stay and continue to take their chances in a tropical paradise. Many leave not wanting to face such scary times as when everything suddenly changes and a weak Tropical Storm intensifies to a Major Hurricane in less than 2 days and takes aim straight at you. 

The Storm:

Had a shelered "sitting area" upstairs near the main hurricane and set the area up with pillows, sheets, food, snacks and a First Aid kit and oh yes everyone had a water bottle. Fell asleep for a little bit and my best friend from LA days called and woke us asking "are you really having a Hurricane?" and after noticing the wind had intensifiied much over that hour cat nap and I said "yes, we are ... gotta go, love you" and hung up as I woke up various kids and yelled at them to get into the Hallway where our "bunker" was in the old, beautiful, well built home that survived many a hurricane including the 1926 Hurricane. We know this because the plans for the house that we needed for renovations had been lost in the 1926 storm when parts of the Miami Beach City Hall blew away with the plans. Yes, you do end up yelling a lot before a hurricane, some kids take it uber serious and others as if "whatever" and you're mentally in slow motion shock. I remember on the ABC affiliate Channel 10 the news anchor asked the head of the NHC several questions asking about trofs and whether it could stall and he just kept responding, "no it's coming, it's not going to turn away" and he was right. You wonder on a lot and remember in real time while waiting for the hurricane to show it's face officially and eventually it did.

The wind roared while the wooden floors vibrated some with the pitch and intensity of the stronger gusts. We made one last try to get my son Levi who insisted on sleeping in the bedroom on the floor into our "shelter" and as his sisters argued dragging him half asleep into the sitting room area he banged his head on the door stop waking up to "what the ... leave me alone" but no we were all going to hunker down together, that was the plan. He was grumpy but in the "shelter" rather than the East facing upstairs bedrooms. My husband kept going to the window in the adjacent bedroom staring at the amazing light show the exploding transformers were making until suddenly a loud explosion happened and our power went out and then we sat there, listening to Bryan Norcross as the power was out and the cable was also gone with the wind and Cantore broadcasting on air at TWC was a distant memory. 

A few strong squalls hit the house, you could feel the wind create a buffeting sort of feel to the wood and the howl of a hurricane's wind is something mighty you have to behold to know what it is really like. You can listen to videos, watch iCyclone videos with the wind howling and the palms swaying but to be in it is wild. Surreal in ways yet so real and compelling, every moment is compelling and while similar but different. Sometimes you hear things flying in the wind, banging against the house or the house next door or your car parked downstairs and during the strongest parts of the storm you can hear the angry, surf three or four blocks away on the other side of Indian Creek.  At some people some people fell asleep and others just sit there staring a bit catatonically breathing in tune to the ferocious wind howling, moaning up and down in intensity. It was at that moment in time, some of my kids fell in love with hurricanes and others did not.

After the Storm:

We were sure there would be broken windows downstairs and water everywhere, yet the house was dry and no windows were broken though the wood put up on the 2nd story windows was gone, taken with the wind. Yes, it looked like a Hurricane hit but we also knew we were spared the brunt of the fast moving, fairly dry storm.

We checked on neighbors who stayed home, neighbors checked on us.  One drove slowly by checking on us, waving on his way to check on the Temple nearby that was a small well built house high up off the ground and fine. We had like five phone lines (don't ask) and the Fax Line somehow remained working so everyone for a few blocks who was home used that phone to call relatives and tell them they were alive.

We drove over to my parent's house a block away (they were in North Miami Beach crowded into my brother's one bedroom apartment along with my sister-in-law's parents, some cats and dogs) and the house was "fine" but messy, covered with debris that blew off businesses on nearby Arthur Godfrey Road and well just debris from everywhere. The backyard was filled with debris blown there by the violent wind; the a large Avocado tree next door fell over and took the backyard brick grill and picnic area with it. A tangled mess of debris and uprooted old trees everywhere. We drove up to 71st Street to check on the Temple where I ran the office and while it was fine with just the awnings blown off and some rain got into some cracks in the windows the ride up VERY SLOWLY with power out and police everywhere was informative. AC unites on top of 10 story Condos were dropped onto the road below, sand covered parts of Collins Avenue (as always) and any big Ficus Tree along the way had been uprooted along with many other trees. We had a video camera and took some video, I took some pictures. Andrew was gone as fast as it came, a fast mover sparing us a slow tedious march across South Florida and dropping relatively very little rain. Along the Bay in Coconut Grove small craft had been lifted with the storm surge and boats of all kinds were left sitting on dry land when the waters receded.

Link to this site below with many great images.

The truth is the AFTER THE STORM NEVER ENDS or it just seems that way. The power is out. The city is trashed, some parts way more trashed than others but even those who were spared the full brunt of the eye have to find someone, somewhere to cut away the huge ficus tree that landed on their house blocking their front door or back door, or both doors allowing them access in and out by climbing through a window. Ficus tree as in the big huge trees with ropes hanging down that you see in Tarzan movies, Ficus, Straggler Figs or Banyans  Someone's roof was in my friend's pool on Miami Beach a block away, the neighbors were out of town and in shock when they heard their roof took flight in the wind though probably not as shocked as my friend's kids who woke up to a messy pool, yard and no power. The water was not usable, we were advised on NOT USING THE WATER so we drank the water we had stocked up BEFORE THE STORM and waited for it to rain in the afternoon so everyone could run outside and take a shower provided by Mother Nature. The power was out for way more than a week... maybe two, the water was usable several days later, but debris was everywhere for weeks, way more than a month. Debris piled 6 to 10 feet high out on everyone's swail baking in the hot humid days of late August and asthma and allergy problems went through the roof if you had a roof left. My neighborhood didn't have traffic lights up again, real ones, for months after Andrew. Eventually the grocery stores opened up and eventually they had food stocked again. 

Miami Beach was "closed" and  had a curfew and you could only come and go showing the police at the barracades your ID. At night they drove around with a loud horn that plaed a message letting us know "the Beach was closed" meaning where people live not the suntanning ocean beach and we were to stay indoors or out on the porch talking to neighbors. A neighor who worked for AP got back in his jeep from Homestead where he stayed for the storm and was in shock there was so much debris on Miami Beach, he said it was lucky for the tourism that every reporter in the world was down in Homestead and to be fair Miami Beach government offices went into overdrive cleaning up the debris from the main streets as soon as possible so there's be less cancelations on hotel conventions later on in 1992 and 1993.

After the storm takes a long time to get past. The hurricane can roar through in six hours if it's kind or twelves hours if it's not and many a hurricane has stalled offshore and delivered nonstop squalls for three days creating flooding and downed powerlines. Every storm is different. My family has lived in the Floria area since the 1880s moving about from Key West to Tampa to Miami with tobacco farms in Quincy Florida, every family member at some time in whatever generation has lived through hurricanes they are part of the landscape like the pinen trees and the mangroves and the colorful trees that bloom all throughout the year. Some pack up and leave, others stay and take life day by day knowing that one day they will eventually have to face another real hurricane. Real hurricane vs a glancing blow or an annoying Tropical Storm that causes flooding and media madness. The real hurricanes are the deal breakers real estate wise and determine whether newcomers sell fast and try their luck somewhere else or they figure they are now real natives after being through a real hurricane. 

Nothing new here, in 1926 after the Great Miami Hurricane (head on collision with Miami Beach and downtown Miami) all the new electric wires and lights were down and FPL had signs on their trucks offering jobs to anyone who hopped on the truck and wanted a job with FPL and many a family that worked for years for FPL started out that way. Trains came South after the 1926 hurricane bringing coffins with them for Red Cross for the dead bodies, the trains took any passengers wanting out of Miami back North with them. Supposedly there were lines at the Train station for flappers and binder boys who once flipped deeds for real estate during the boom waiting to get out of Miami, a paradise temporarily gone wreck and ruin. 

But Miami shines on, stronger always, shinier, prettier with tall new glitzy buildings filled with hurricane proof windows meant to withstand a Cat 5 Hurricane. Time will tell on those windows but my money is always on Miami because Miami rebounds always in new exciting ways. The views are always beautiful!