Katie Lepri

Engagement Producer

Katie Lepri is WLRN's engagement producer. 

Associated Press

Barbuda was the first. A Category 5 Hurricane Irma swept the island with its powerful 185 mile per hour winds. One person died. The prime minister said 95 percent of the buildings were destroyed after the storm passed.

On Wednesday, Irma made history: It became one of the most powerful recorded storm in the Atlantic Ocean. It bulldozed the U.S. Virgin Islands, ripping roofs off houses in St. Barts and flooding St. Martin. By the time the hurricane left St. Martin and St. Barts, 11 people died. 

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

The slight veer south in the projected track of Hurricane Irma led some Florida Keys holdouts to hit the road Friday.

The entire Florida Keys island chain has been under a mandatory evacuation order for residents since Wednesday evening.

Still, some residents are sticking it out. Including Kerry and Diane Shelby of Key West.

"The entire state of Florida's evacuating. So we looked at both options and it just looked a little too difficult to get out," Kerry Shelby said. "So we decided we were on the good side of the storm, we were going to stay here."

WIN MCNAMEE / GETTY IMAGES

After Harvey, the questions all South Floridians are asking are — could it happen here? What if it happened here?

Listen: 

With Hurricane Irma gathering strength in the Atlantic, we'll talk about the science of Harvey, the hydrology of South Florida and how flood water collects and moves about our region. WLRN's Tom Hudson will talk with two county emergency management directors about getting ready and staying ready. 

Work: It's just one of the many reasons to explain why Americans love the weekend so much.

This weekend, however, we're going to give you a little bit more of it - in book form, that is. It is Labor Day weekend, after all, so we're celebrating. 

Al Diaz / Miami Herald

Haitians living under Temporary Protected Status are concerned that their time in the United States is running out. Some of them are looking north — as in Canada. 

More than 3,800 Haitian migrants crossed into Quebec in the first half of August. But is our northern neighbor accepting asylum seekers with open arms?

Guests: Jacqueline Charles, Caribbean Correspondent Miami Herald

Katie Lepri / WLRN News

Clear skies and full visibility conspired on Monday afternoon to guarantee that science enthusiasts in South Florida had an unobstructed view of the solar eclipse traveling through the United States. 

Victor Vincent remembers Hurricane Andrew well, even after 25 years.

At the time, he was working at the Miami Science Museum and living with his girlfriend, now wife, in Miami's Country Walk. 

Close to 90 percent of the houses in Country Walk were destroyed during the storm, including Vincent's. Many homeowners ended up suing the developer, Arvida, for poor construction.  Miami-Dade County adopted stricter building codes, but the damage had already been done. 

Warren Browne / Discovery YMCA

Twenty-five years ago this week, Hurricane Andrew destroyed the Homestead area- including many of its daycare centers.

That’s when Sue Loyzelle stepped in.

She was the director of the local YMCA at the time. After the storm, she was tasked by the city to establish an emergency daycare center at Harris Field--right by the Air Force base in Homestead.

WLRN spoke to Loyzelle at the opening of HistoryMiami's Hurricane Andrew: 25 Years Later exhibit in our Miami Stories audio recording booth. Below is what she told us in the booth: 

Twenty-five years ago, Hurricane Andrew hurtled through South Florida. The Category 5 storm uprooted trees, washed boats ashore and destroyed thousands of homes. It caused an estimated $25 billion in damage.

But the hurricane didn't scare Kendall resident Camille Grace, a 47-year-old who worked in sales for Cayman Airways and taught night school. She put her storm shutters up and filled her two bath tubs with water in case she lost access to the precious liquid during the storm. 

Marcia Brod

Lenny and Marcia Brod clearly remember one sleepless night 25 years ago. It was the eve of Hurricane Andrew.

“We were novices,” said Marcia Brod, 67. “It was a first time any kind of hurricane was coming through that was significant.”

In 1992, they were raising their two kids in a new home located on 128th Street and Southwest 107th Avenue in Miami. They had barely planned for the Category 5 storm hurling toward South Florida. 

HistoryMiami

25 years ago when Hurricane Andrew hit Miami, Lance O’Brian and his friend decided to wait out the storm in Miami Beach. Both surfers, they hoped to catch some good waves once the storm had passed.

HistoryMiami museum folklorist Vanessa Navarro spoke with O'Brian as part of a HistoryMiami research project called “What Makes Miami Miami?” The Florida Folklife Program, a component of the Florida Department of State’s Division of Historical Resources, directed the project. Below is an edited excerpt of his interview:

NOAA

If a hurricane hit today, Isaias Torres and Leah Richter Torres would be together. They're married and just had a baby girl.

But 25 years ago, they were in completely different places.

Isaias, then a 13-year-old on his way into eighth grade, lived with his mom. During the storm, his parents, who had recently divorced, came together under one roof in Hialeah.

Leah, then 17, was on her way to study environmental engineering at the University of Florida. Her mom, dad and two little sisters got into the car to drive her to Gainesville the Friday before Andrew.

Katie Lepri / WLRN

Growing up in Miami, Nanci Mitchell has been through a lot of hurricanes.

“I remember in high school, sitting on the back porch in the middle of one of the hurricanes, just screened in, and it was just neat watching the storm,” she said. “It was no big deal.”

But Hurricane Andrew was a different story.

In a conversation with her sister-in-law, who lived out of state, Mitchell, then 47, confessed that Andrew “was unlike any other.”

“There was nothing like this hurricane,” she said. 

Miami Herald

Bart Mackleen was in a state of disbelief when he heard about the devastation of southern Miami-Dade, called Dade County back then, after Hurricane Andrew. 

"This [the hurricane] took everything away," he said. "You couldn't recognize where you were." 

All evidence points out to the fact that the earth is warming and the climate is changing. In Florida, that means more unpleasantly hot days, rising seas and stronger storms. 

So, it may be time to read up on the subject, if you haven’t already. Some concerned members of the community have taken up learning how to teach others about climate change science and solutions. 

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