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Hurricane Season - The Time to Prepare is Now

We live in a wonderland of wind and water. These elements give us one of the most desirable climates in the world. But, sometimes the climate gets ugly and dangerous.

Last month was the official start of hurricane season. Because we are so susceptible to tropical storms, it’s important that all of us, as residents of Miami-Dade County get prepared.


Many things have changed since Hurricane Andrew. Our ability to predict hurricanes is far ahead of what it was then. We’ve changed the way we build our homes, and we changed the way we combat flooding.

This is the time when tropical depressions begin to churn off the West Coast of Africa. Should they reach our community, I want you to know that our state-of-the-art Emergency Operations Center is ready for the winds and floods that hurricanes bring.

Over the next weeks and months, information on how to safeguard lives, homes and possessions will be carried on television and radio … in print media … on the Internet … and on videos. All in English, Spanish and Creole.

These messages will encourage you to create your own hurricane preparation plan – and rehearse it with your family.

The plan should include such steps as:
- Protect windows and doors.
- Store plenty of water.
- Fill your car’s gas tank, and withdraw cash - gas pumps and ATM’s may be down.
- Make sure your car and boat are safe.
- Check all emergency equipment - flashlights, batteries, radios.
- If you live in an evacuation zone, decide where you will go.
- Make provision for pets; they are not allowed in evacuation centers.

I cannot emphasize strongly enough how important it is for special needs residents – who may require assistance evacuating – to register with our Emergency Evacuation Assistance Program now.

But while a tropical storm is whipping through our town, often the accompanying tropical rainfall causes more damage than the wind.

Let me use this opportunity to tell you what we are doing about flooding since Hurricane Irene – and the now infamous No-Name storm – caused such damage in our community.

Thanks to an unprecedented partnership between the County, the State and the Federal government, we have begun the most aggressive flood mitigation program in the history of Miami-Dade County.

The campaign will benefit the entire County, but mostly such hard-hit communities as Sweetwater, Flagami, West Miami and parts of Unincorporated Miami-Dade County – as well as North Miami, hit hard by May’s record rainfall.

To solve this, we have installed – and are installing – forward pumps in our primary canals that carry floodwater into the Bay. These pumps are so powerful that they can move about 10 billion gallons of water a day.

In addition, we are dredging 74 secondary canals – and cleaning out 100,000 catch basins and storm drains.

The cost of this flood mitigation program will be nearly $1 billion, but considering the terrible damage that floods cause in property and lives, it is well worth the investment.

But, let me be clear. We have not solved the problem of flooding – we are only addressing it. No program – however aggressive – can totally prevent flooding. A torrential downpour such as what Broward experienced at the end of May will overcome any preventive measure. But, compared to what happened just a few years ago, we are light years ahead.

We should all take great pride in the progress that we as a County have made in fighting hurricanes and floods.

I ask everyone to start now to safeguard your homes and your families so we are all prepared to deal with the challenges of nature.

 

Mayor Alex Penelas Signature

Alex Penelas
Miami-Dade County Mayor
 

  
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