Almost 20 years to the day that Hurricane Andrew wiped through South Florida, residents of Homestead gathered to commemorate the storm’s anniversary.
The feeling was much different Tuesday, as residents who had weathered the storm smiled and shook hands.
"It was a life-changing event and it wasn’t all bad for us,” Teddy Hurlbert said. “It gave us a new perspective on life, makes us grateful. I can’t take a shower without remembering there was no hot water."
On Aug. 24, 1992, Hurricane Andrew destroyed 28,000 homes and affected 82,000 businesses. The storm also displaced 250,000 people and killed 15.
Pastor Brock Shiffer, who lived in the plagued region, credited God with getting him through the storm.
“So we all poured into that church that Sunday morning, probably the most packed service I’d been in in years, and we thanked God for getting us through,” he said. “We were left to rebuild our homes. I had a good insurance policy and between God and that insurance, we rebuilt and moved on."
At the event Tuesday, NBC 6’s chief meteorologist John Morales said Hurricane Andrew was a reminder of what can brew off the Florida coast.
“Hurricane Andrew reminds us that it only takes one, even with little hurricane activity in the Atlantic, a major hurricane can approach and wreak havoc," he said.
Ed Bowe was a Homestead police officer when the storm hit, and is now the emergency services director. He told NBC 6 South Florida that Hurricane Andrew helped residents be better prepared for tropical storms today.
“We are a lot better prepared as a community,” he said. “Building codes are better, hopefully homes will hold up better than they did back then."