HOMESTEAD (CBSMiami) – Twenty years ago Saturday, the city of Homestead was knee deep on debris and flood water, it’s air force base smashed, and it’s neighborhoods in ruins after serving as ground zero for Hurricane Andrew, at that time the worst national disaster in US history. Saturday, they faced another storm, but in much better shape.
“This time we’re prepared,” said mayor Steven Bateman, a longtime Homestead resident who lived throughAndrew. “We weren’t prepared in Andrew. We are prepared today.”
The city’s power system has been hardened. The water towers have been topped off. The city now has its own emergency operations center.
Bateman spoke at Harris Field, which afterAndrew was infamous world wide as Tent City, where thousands of refugees lived under canvas for weeks because they had no place else to go.
Saturday, the place of such bad memories was a place of action, as residents filled free sandbags to help control flooding in low lying areas.
“We served over 800 people today at this location,” Bateman said, “and 500 people at the other location.”
Some people who cabe to pick up sandbags stayed to help fill them for others, part of what city officials see as a new spirit for the city which has slowly re-built over two decades.
This is 20 years later, and it’s very ironic that we have another storm rolling in on the birthday of Hurricane Andrew.
The storm is much different, but so is the city it approaches. Homestead did not await Isaac with open arms, but with a sense of preparation.
Here’s how to use the CBS4 site to prepare for and monitor Isaac: