This month we mark the 25th anniversary of Hurricane Andrew. For those of you who didn’t live here or weren’t even born yet, Andrew was a deadly Category 5 hurricane that devastated huge areas of Miami-Dade County – especially the southern communities.
The generation who grew up in post-Andrew Miami recall the time with great emotion – and understandably so, because on Aug. 24, 1992, lives were changed forever.
One thing that hasn’t changed – as many of you love to point out – is my picture that accompanies this column! I know, I know… it’s the same mug shot I’ve been using for 25 years, but honestly I really haven’t changed a bit.
But honestly, so very much has changed. Back then, there was no texting, no skyping, no Snapchat. Sure we had Tweety Bird, but there was no Twitter. Go ahead and try Google – that’s something else we didn’t have – and post what you find on your social media using a hash-tag, which is something we once called a number sign.
The technology you use today as your primary means of communication, which is quickly replacing face-to-face conversation (even while sitting face-to-face with your friends), was not around. In many cases, the creators of this revolutionary new technology weren’t even knee high to a pig’s eye. They were still kids themselves in ‘92. When Andrew hit, Facebook Founder Mark Zuckerberg was in just 2nd or 3rd grade. But somehow we still managed to survive!
And, lucky for you, the technology that today powers all of your iPhones, iPads, and laptops has changed. What I am talking about is the electric grid.
Weather remains the number one reason power outages occur, so during a hurricane, tropical storm, or even a bad spell of thunder and lightning, someone’s electricity will invariably go out. The difference today is technology. FPL has invested billions in our electrical system to ensure its reliability.
Today, smart technology on poles and wires help to predict where those power outages might happen, so that power may then be rerouted to prevent an outage from ever happening in the first place. That same technology is also helping get your lights on faster when you do lose power.
The grid isn’t the only thing that is more resilient. Stronger and smarter building codes and hurricane impact windows ensure we are all safer during a storm. Although I miss the visual of jalousie windows painstakingly held together by the hopes of criss-crossed masking tape…
We live in a world today of modern conveniences and superb technology that is so good, we forget what it’s like to be without it. No matter how good the technology, building materials or code enforcement may be, we must remember that it can all be blown away with the blink of an eye – or rather the eye of a storm!
Complacency remains our greatest threat. While we haven’t had an Andrew-caliber storm in 25 years, that doesn’t mean we won’t see another one like it in our lifetime. We must all prepare for the worst and hope for the best. Let’s be ready.