TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Wednesday marks the 30th anniversary of Hurricane Andrew slamming into South Florida.
Andrew is still one of the five most powerful hurricanes to ever hit the United States.
“Andrew was a relatively small storm in terms of size – was very compact, but the peak winds when it made landfall in South Florida were around 165 miles per hour, so a Category 5,” said Michael Brennan, the acting deputy director of the National Hurricane Center.
Brennan says Andrew changed the way many people prepare for a major storm but he’s concerned that many people who now live in Florida have never seen a hurricane like Andrew.
“I think you worry about complacency. You worry about people who underestimate their risk. They may have lived here for now 20 or 30 years and not gone through a significant, you know, hurricane threat that really threatened their lives that they needed to, you know, take evacuations for take evacuation or other preparedness actions for,” said Brennan.
Doris Meneses will never forget Andrew. She rode out the hurricane at her family home in Homestead.
“We thought we were okay. You know, people said put tape on your windows,” said Meneses.
That night, she learned putting tape on windows is a waste of time.
“No amount of masking tape on your windows is going to stop something like Andrew,” said Meneses.
For her, the night of the storm was terrifying.
“I felt guilty – the guilt, I mean, I’m not embarrassed to say I went into therapy after because I felt so guilty for putting the children through that,” said Meneses.
She says she never wants to go through anything like that again.