National Geographic : 1993 Apr
By RICK GORE SENIOR ASSISTANT EDITOR N THE RUINS SOUTH OF MIAMI, days after the storm, there are many who believe the "monster" will return. "I think it's coming back," says a seven-year-old Haitian girl, Ernesta Jacques. "I'm gonna cry, cry, cry. . . . And the windows are gonna pop, pop, pop .. ." The monster. That's what children in the low-income neighborhoods of Homestead-the 11-year-old girl sucking the pacifier, the boy having an asthma attack while his mother waits in line for help from the Red Cross-call the night mare that in the dark early hours of August 24, 1992, burst through their win dows and tore off their roofs. Most people call the monster by another name-Hurricane Andrew-and recount how he cavorted wantonly through their neighborhoods that morning, lifting steel reinforced concrete tie beams weighing hundreds of pounds from buildings and thrashing them into homes, sometimes blocks away. Now whenever thunder rumbles or lightning flashes, children cry and dogs cower. Even grownups, who know the storm is over, react differently inside. For instance, Noemy Calderon, who huddled west of Homestead in a roofless bathroom with her husband, suffers sharp chest pains when afternoon storm clouds gather. On doctor's orders she has had to leave her husband temporarily and live with relatives away from the devastation. Farther north in Perrine a young, black single mother, Millie Offord, sits anxiously in an Army tent, telling a Red Cross mental-health worker about her eight-year-old daughter. "Whenever it starts to rain, Kenetta panics," says Offord. "She cries, 'Momma, Andrew's gonna come back. Andrew's gonna hurt people.' " Kenetta's bedroom was destroyed suddenly by the mon ster in the middle of the night, Offord explains. Her pre cious stuffed animals and her brand-new school clothes were ruined. Her family is among the 160,000 people Andrew left homeless. "Sometimes I freak out too," Offord says. Volunteer psychologist John Carnes reassures her that her child is having a normal reaction to a very abnormal situation. Tears well up in Offord's eyes. ANDREWBOYD, TIMES-PICAYUNE(ABOVE); "It's just . . I remember when I was little," she says. CHUCKFADELY, MIAMIHERALD "There was nothing my momma couldn't make bet ter... I wish I were stronger than what I am .... But I can't make this go away . .. " Hurricane Andrew began about August 13 as a patch of thunderstorms over west ern Africa. It moved out over the Atlantic as a rainy low-pressure wave. The U. S. National Hurricane Center tracks 60 or 70 of these waves each hurricane season, June through November, using satellites. This disturbance seemed unusually strong. By Monday, August 17, it had intensified into a tropical storm, developing a central cir culation but not yet the clear eye that characterizes a strong hurricane. STUNNED SURVIVOR Kellie Forsythe scours the rubble of her mother-in law's home in Reserve, Louisiana, where she found the wind-borne photograph ofa neighbor'sdaughter, who was also unhurt. Though potent enough to suck the wall off Florida apartments (opposite), the storm caused fewer than 65 deaths.