Friday, August 17, 2012

Remembering Hurricane Andrew: 20 Years Later

"Toys R Us has become Toys Was Us." -CBS News anchor Dan Rather

Looks like CBS4 is first out of the gate with the first of many local specials and programs marking the 20th anniversary of Hurricane Andrew's strike on South Florida.

From CBS4:
This Sunday 6:30 PM, CBS4 anchor Eliott Rodriguez will host a half-hour special, Remembering Hurricane Andrew: 20 years, marking the 20th anniversary of Hurricane Andrew’s strike on South Florida on August 24, 1992. The special - produced by Cari Hernandez and Howard Bernstein - will provide a first-hand account of how this storm forever changed the physical and social landscape of South Florida.

The program includes:

* The big story: CBS4 reporter Gary Nelson brings viewers some of the most unforgettable moments of August 24, 1992 and images of the aftermath.

* One meteorologist’s experience: CBS4 chief meteorologist David Bernard speaks with NOAA scientist Stan Goldenberg, who witnessed his home crumble to pieces around him and his three children, while his wife was in labor at the hospital.

* Zoo Miami: Miami’s MetroZoo was severely impacted by Hurricane Andrew. The zoo’s longtime communications director Ron McGill describes how the zoo became a symbol of survival after the storm and how it rebuilt from the rubble.

* Children of Hurricane Andrew: Hurricane Andrew was particularly traumatizing for children who were forced to hide in closets and bath tubs throughout the storm. For some however, Andrew had a profound effect on who they would later become in life. CBS4 meteorologist Lissette Gonzalez speaks with several young adults, including one chose to become a fellow meteorologist, another who became a journalist, and yet another who is now a community activist.

* South Dade recovery -- Is it better or worse 20 years later: It has now been 20 years since Hurricane Andrew struck South Florida, and since then, millions of dollars have been invested in reconstruction and rebuilding. CBS4 reporter David Sutta goes to South Dade to speak with community leaders and business owners. He also talks to a Miami historian and others who offers insights on whether the area today has become better or worse as a result of the reconstruction.

* Escape to Broward: The natural disaster spurred a location and population shift in Miami-Dade, causing thousands of residents to move to Broward County. CBS4 anchor Eliott Rodriguez explores the move north, and looks at what it meant for the economy and overall morale of our communities.

* Miami Herald photographers: In their own words: Six Miami Herald photographers take CBS4 viewers back to the day Hurricane Andrew struck South Florida and the days that followed via their coverage of the storm. They share their stories and some unforgettable photographs.


The show's host, Eliott Rodriguez, worked at WPLG Channel 10 in 1992. He told me by phone last night, "In the days following the storm, I vividly remember being stopped by National Guardsmen in Coconut Grove and seeing boats that had drifted in the storm surge from Biscayne Bay all the way across South Bayshore Drive."
When the storm hit, I worked non-stop for what seemed an eternity. I slept, ate and bathed at the station. I was sent out with photographer Al Rodriguez and we hit the street looking for stories. They were not hard to find. Human misery and suffering was everywhere.

Alrod and I did not even edit our stories. We shot everything in real time and since we were on the air 24 hours a day, we had no time limit. I remember that as we drove South the destruction was greater and the devastation more mind-boggling. By the time we got to Homestead and Florida City—about two days after the storm hit, it looked like an atomic bomb had hit.

I remember that on the first night off after the storm, I drove to Broward County to avoid the curfew in Dade.

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