Escaping Hurricane Andrew

I reached my house on Ramrod Key on the day before my birthday in 1992. I knew there was something wrong when I turned on my TV. The local channel was showing a picture of a hurricane offshore, and its predicted path showed it could hit the Lower Keys. There was a warning to prepare for possible evacuation. I headed for the nearest filling station to fill up for the possible 100-mile drive to Miami Airport, and found a huge line of drivers waiting to do the same. It took me over half an hour to get fuel.

When I woke at 6 am next day, the evacuation order had just been given, so I headed for the mainland. US Highway One has only two lanes, one each way. I joined the huge line of cars and headed off in a giant convoy making about 20 mph. At the mainland we speeded up, with all the toll gates open and personnel frantically waving us all through. When I eventually reached Miami Airport I dumped my car in long stay parking and went to buy a ticket. There were no seats to New York or Washington, so I asked what they had and was told they had one seat left for Dallas. I bought it and boarded the plane. By now the hurricane was only a few hours away and the winds were picking up. We sat for two hours on the runway, and eventually took off, to a mighty cheer from the passengers. I believe we were the second last flight out.

I watched the hurricane on TV at a Dallas Airport hotel that evening. It devastated Homestead, just North of the Keys, and caused extensive damage in the Upper and Middle Keys. I went to stay with friends in Dallas, and had friends I'd invited to stay at my house pick up my car a few days later from Miami. When they reached my house they reported all was well, though debris was scattered about. It was then I made the decision to sell up, and rent places when I visited in future.