Hurricane Andrew In The Eyes Of Teens

If a hurricane hit today, Isaias Torres and Leah Richter Torres would be together. They’re married and just had a baby girl.

But 25 years ago, they were in completely different places.

Isaias, then a 13-year-old on his way into eighth grade, lived with his mom. During the storm, his parents, who had recently divorced, came together under one roof in Hialeah.

Leah, then 17, was on her way to study environmental engineering at the University of Florida. Her mom, dad and two little sisters got into the car to drive her to Gainesville the Friday before Andrew.

Her family drove back to Broward County to board up their house. They arrived the day before the storm hit. 

Isaias’ Story: Hiding In The Closet To Keep Safe

You know, we were kids so we thought it was fun, eating junk food — cookies, moonpies, Little Debbie snacks. 

The power went out early in the night. It was dark already. We were all in the living room playing board games: Monopoly, Parcheesi, Uno. My parents lit candles. We had a lantern.

My parents grew up in Cuba. They had been through hurricanes. I don’t think they took it as seriously as they should have. We weren’t prepared for an extendeded amount of time. We probably had food to last us maybe a week if we stretched it, but not even. Just a few days worth.

And the tape. The tape on the windows. That was the most fascinating part of it — one window that wasn’t covered with plywood, we had tape on it, so if the windows broke, the shards of glass wouldn’t go flying, which in hindsight seems kind of stupid. 

That sliding glass door that wasn’t covered — just from the pressure and the wind you could see it bowing in and out inches. It was dramatic, almost pulsating. At one point, when it got really bad, my dad got us and took us into the walk-in closet of the bedroom because we thought it…

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