The parallels between Homestead after Hurricane Andrew in 1992 and Mexico Beach after Hurricane Michael are stunning. There are remarkable similarities including the first 48 hours of media incomprehension due to their inability to gain access.
For those who might not remember, immediately following hurricane Andrew (’92) no-one initially realized the scale of devastation in/around Homestead, FL, because all eyes were focused on the more well-known Miami area. It took a few days for people to fathom where the real devastation took place. Homestead was almost entirely obliterated.
Fast forward 26 years and the exact same scenario exists near Mexico Beach, FL. The difference between Michael and Andrew is the width of the devastation. Andrew was a much wider storm than Michael; but the aftermath is eerily similar. Seriously, it’s PTSD flashback central…. stunningly so.
Just like the area around Homestead AFB ’92, the area around Tyndall AFB in 2018 is identical. Complete devastation. Amazing. I mean the comparisons are spookily similar, right down to the displayed fighter jets being torn from their concrete pedestals.
This is probably the only time I will ever agree with Senator Bill Nelson:
As you go east of Panama City, that’s where that wall of water on the eastern side of the eye wall is,” Sen. Bill Nelson said. “You are going to see a lot of destruction when the rescue crews get into Mexico Beach. … That’s where you’re going to see the extreme, extreme devastation.”
The coastal community is gone. There’s maybe a handful of houses and structures that did not have structural failure.
Further inland, with each mile traveled the number of livable structures seems to increase. Buy the time you get around 15 miles away things look more like typical hurricane damage.
However, the roadways and transit hubs are a mess, without a heavy duty 4×4 it’s impossible to move around. Forget about trying to get power crews in here. Some roads are completely impassable – just like Andrew in ’92 that makes rescue and recovery efforts slow down dramatically.
It will take days for the main arteries to be cleared; and that only then starts to get access to the secondary inbound roadways. Once this process is complete (48 hours) that will allow a more thorough evaluation, the scale of the damage, to be possible.
That said, like Andrew, this post-Michael recovery effort is going to take a long time and a very long-term commitment.
No-one inside the impact zone is reading this because there is complete infrastructure failure. No power, no water, no cell towers, no communication, etc. It’s the old fashioned relay system… who are you? what is your status? who do you need us to contact? write it down….. then you travel 30 to 40 miles, find a network, and sit down and start making relay calls.
My friends and readers please remember this. When we shared the importance of setting up a communication hub as part of your hurricane plan, this is exactly why.