Irma was a teachable moment for Miami-Dade. Have we learned its lessons?
For Miami-Dade, Hurricane Irma may have been but a dry run for the real thing — a major hurricane that rakes across the length of the county with the full destructive force of the terrifying Category 5 monster that Irma and its sequel, Hurricane Maria, delivered at their peak. Irma’s upward sweep through the county as a strong tropical storm, though damaging enough, fell well shy of that. Still, experts say, there are several lessons to be drawn from Irma and some vulnerabilities to address — some of them obvious, some not. And there are reassuring if not conclusive indications about the state of readiness of Miami-Dade’s population and its homes and buildings — especially those built under beefed-up codes since 1992’s Hurricane Andrew — for the next time a major storm looms. “Irma was a soft test in our part of Florida,” said Richard Olson, director of the Hurricane Research Institute at Florida International University and an expert on disaster response and recovery. “The hard test is still to come.” - Read more