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  • Writer's pictureBryan Norcross

Franklin crossing the Dominican Republic and thoughts about Andrew's 31st anniversary

Tropical Storm Franklin got on its horse overnight and is crossing the island of Hispaniola near the Dominican Republic and Haiti border. The winds aren’t very high, but dangerous conditions will exist near the mountains due to the interaction of the tropical moisture and the high elevations.

Yesterday, Franklin’s center of circulation was so disheveled, it was hard to determine whether the system actually met the definition of a tropical storm. The circulation is carrying a lot of tropical moisture, which it will drag over the mountains and tomorrow at least.

The forecast is for up to 15 inches of rain in some spots in the Dominican Republic, with locally perhaps 4 inches in Puerto Rico on the fringe of the storm.

Assuming Franklin survives the trip across the storm-shredding mountains of Hispaniola, the atmospheric pattern should become more conducive for strengthening over the open Atlantic north of the Caribbean islands. The National Hurricane Center is forecasting the system to drift in a zigzag path for a few days with no impact on land.

Tropical storm winds could also impact the Turks and Caicos Islands.

The long-range computer forecasts show Franklin moving north. On the current schedule, it will be in the vicinity of Bermuda at the beginning of next week – possibly as a hurricane. Everyone there should stay informed.

What’s left of Tropical Storm Harold is just an area of rain over west Texas. It’s heading into New Mexico and Arizona.

In the East Atlantic, the Remnants of Tropical Storm Emily are trying to stage a comeback. The National Hurricane Center is giving the disturbance a high chance of redeveloping into a tropical depression or back into a tropical storm. It would keep the name Emily since there has been a trackable disturbance right along.

The other disturbance in the Atlantic, officially called Invest #92L, still has a slight chance of developing, but its window is closing.

The only threat for now appears to be potential-Hurricane Franklin.


Andrew's assault on South Florida began 31 years tonight

Even 31 years later, it's hard to imagine how ferocious the winds were that early morning of August 24, 1992, when plywood and 2x4s flew into palm trees and cars flipped over inside their garage. It's hard to imagine. But it happened 31 years ago tonight.

In 1992, August 23 was a Sunday. The weather in South Florida was beautiful all day. Preparations were in high gear. By mid-evening, the interstate was mostly empty. Most people were in the place where they'd decided to ride out the storm.

A significant storm hadn't hit South Florida in 27 years, and the Miami/Fort Lauderdale metropolitan area had grown dramatically in that time. There was tense anticipation. People thought they were prepared. But nobody had imagined what was to come.

At midnight, Andrew's first outer band reached the coast with gusty winds and passing squalls. Then there were gaps when it seemed to stop and start. But on the radar, Andrew was drawing energy from the Gulf Stream and intensifying before our eyes.

At about 2:00 AM, I could see that southern Dade County was going to face a worst-case scenario. We had talked for the previous two days about everything we could think of to help people get ready, but it was clear that more was needed. I sat in on the news set wracking my brain to think of what people could do in their homes to give themselves an edge.

I remembered a book I had read written by a guy named L.F. Reardon. He and his family rode out the Great Miami Hurricane of 1926 in their home in Coral Gables. Out of desperation, he used a mattress for protection. It was a great idea.

I told people that Andrew was going to be scarier than anything they could imagine, and they should get a mattress off the bed and have it ready. If it came to it, they could get in a closet, small bathroom, or protected hallway, get under the mattress and "ride this thing out." It was the smartest thing I have ever said in my life.

I've heard from hundreds of people who put the mattress on top of the bathtub or over a safe space in a hallway corner. In the end, it was the mattress that gave them protection when their houses came apart.

For anyone who went through, they'll never forget what happened… 31 years ago tonight.


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