Disaster Zone

Storm Surge Areas in Miami-Dade County

If you live there, it is a bit late to understand the risks to life and property.

by Eric Holdeman / September 8, 2017

Hurricane Andrew is the last really big earthquake to hit the Miami-Dade County area of Florida. Back then in 1992 I had only been a state emergency manager for one year and Andrew was my first really big national-level disaster. Now Hurricane Irma is bearing down on the state of Florida.

I've heard the term "hurricane amnesia" used in the last few days. Meaning, people forget the lessons from past disasters, plus in 25 years there are tens of thousands of new residents who have not experienced what a Category 4 or 5 Hurricane is like.

Miami-Dade County has a Storm Surge Planning website. It is a bit late to be thinking about choosing where to live, but maybe — someone, somewhere is thinking about moving to "the coast" in another state. Find out what the storm surge model is for where you live and don't forget to figure in high tide and some sea rise in your calculations.

The good news for FEMA is with its proactive stance to disaster response, there should not be some local emergency manager standing up after the disaster and saying, "Where the hell is the cavalry?" which happened with Hurricane Andrew.