Andrew memories raise Irma concerns for veteran journalist

Stephen Morrill remembers covering Hurricane Andrew, so he is preparing for Irma.

The pounding of a hammer stood out in a quiet Seminole Heights neighborhood. Stephen Morrill couldn’t waste another moment.

“I’ve been through some storms but this is the mother of all storms,” he said.

Hurricane Irma is speeding toward the United States with Miami in its sights. Nearly 25 years ago to the day, Morrill outlasted another beast of a storm in South Florida.

“I covered it for Reuters. We worked out of their Miami bureau,” the former journalist said of his Hurricane Andrew experience in 1992. “I could stand at the window and look out and there was a row of Navy ships. Helicopters with supplies coming inshore. Empty helicopters going out and I thought, ‘This is what it looks like what I see for a third world country and it’s Miami’.”

That’s part of the reason why he got up so early Friday. He drove to the Home Depot near his home and bought wood and nails to board up the 20 windows of his house, built in 1927.

He doesn’t want a repeat of Andrew’s destruction.

“I’d go down with a photographer to Homestead or Florida City and it was just flattened,” he said. “The tallest objects were people walking around. It was amazing.”

With friends and family coming to ride out Irma at his home, his “better safe than sorry” motto was the best choice to make.

 

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