After the storm: Hurricane Andrew ten years later


St. Petersburg Times

August 18: The storm
Hurricane Andrew touched the lives of thousands of people in South Florida. A tiny cul-de-sac is a microcosm of the storm's impact.

The biggest natural disaster in U.S. history touched every homeowner in Florida when insurance companies scrambled to cover losses. Ten 10 years later, the effects can still be felt.

August 19: Building
Andrew did more than devastate South Florida: It exposed dangerous shortcomings in construction and inspection. It took 10 years, but a new statewide building code is finally in place. Some builders, however, say they already have put Andrew's lessons to work.

Protecting your home
What to do to make your house safer during a hurricane.

Interactive look at Florida's building code
(For a non-Flash version of the graphic, click here)

August 20: Whatever happened to...
Kate Hale
, who with 10 words -- "Where in the hell is the cavalry on this one?'' -- became an instant folk hero and prompted a complete revamping of the federal government's emergency management agency. Find out what Hale has been up to since then.

And how about the others? The TV weatherman who reassured shaky South Florida? And the shotgun-toting homeowner seen around the country? And Homestead Air Force Base?

August 24: The 1921 Storm
Tampa Bay
hasn't been hit by a hurricane for 81 years. The 1921 unnamed hurricane caused millions of dollars of damage, but what would happen today if a similar storm hit the bay area?

Hurricane Animation

Related Links
2002 Official Hurricane Guide


Protecting your home

By Times staff writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published August 19, 2002

Here are things you can do to protect your home from a hurricane:

-- Prepare window protection -- get shutters or cut plywood to fit, and have fasteners ready.

-- Caulk and weatherstrip windows and doors so wind does not penetrate cracks.

-- Install bracing on garage doors, or replace an older door with a reinforced door.

-- Bolt doors with foot and head bolts with a minimum throw length of 1 inch.

-- Gather valuables and papers and place them in a safe deposit box or other secure location outside your home.

-- Prepare a detailed list of all possessions and their cost. Photograph or videotape your home, inside and out, and specific valuables and high-ticket items. Store in a safe place. Keep a camera handy so you can document damage to support an insurance claim.

-- Find your insurance policy; write down the name and phone number of your company and your agent. Keep these with you if you must evacuate.

-- When a storm threatens, tie down or bring inside loose items (furniture, sports equipment).

-- If your home has gable ends, seek the advice of an engineer or contractor about reinforcing them against the wind.

On the Web

-- FLASH (Federal Alliance for Safe Homes, partnership of insurance industry, government agencies, nonprofits, businesses), Preparedness information for hurricanes and other disasters, checklists. Related site,, offers technical recommendations for building and remodeling.

-- The Florida Building Code is online at

-- The Florida Department of Emergency Management has a Web site at with tips on hurricane preparation and reinforcing your home.

-- The Federation of Manufactured Homeowners Association offers information on how to protect manufactured housing at

What will it cost?

Here are cost estimates on some common forms of window protection for a window 3 by 5 feet:

Rolldown, nonmotorized aluminum shutter: $630-$1,100

Window film: $110-$120

Aluminum corrugated panel: $150-$165

Steel panel: $130-$150

Clear Lexan (polycarbonate plastic) corrugated panel: $190-$270

Aluminum accordion shutter: $400-$500

Stainless steel screening: $450

Colonial/Bahama shutter: $630-$700

"Shutterless protection in a box": Kit with double-faced tape, heavy polyester-reinforced vinyl: $1 per square foot

4 by 8 sheet of half-inch plywood (code mandates minimum of 7/16 inch): $10.35

-- Source: local retailers.

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