Satellite view of a hurricane on Earth.

Evaluating Our Hurricane Preparation

By George “Bud” Scholl, Mayor

(Tuesday, November 1, 2016) We were very lucky to have such a powerful storm, in close proximity of our coast line, resulting with minimal issues. However, we were still very prepared.

Even thought Miami-Dade County never officially came under a Hurricane Warning (we were under a Tropical Storm Warning), given that the county line just above Golden Beach was the southern edge of the Hurricane Warning zone, we still needed to be vigilant. As an individual home owner, there is a lot to do to prepare for a hurricane. As a City, proper preparation is a very big challenge.

Our Building and Code Enforcement Departments need to ensure that all construction sites and single family homes are secure. This includes mitigating the potential for flying debris, making sure cranes are properly cared for and fencing is secured. I am pleased to report that our Building Official, Clay Parker, his staff, and Code Enforcement did a great job in getting to these sites early to verify they would not create problems. Our Cultural & Community Services team has to deal with securing the parks and public spaces that we enjoy. This includes removing canopies, removing benches and securing equipment. Susan Simpson and her staff had everything taken care of in preparation for the storm. Our Public Works staff have to deal with securing equipment, ensuring our drainage systems are prepared for the onslaught of rain and dealing with securing our public buildings. Rob Williamson and the rest of our Public Works folks had everything prepared and protected.

During storm preparedness, especially when we face mandatory evacuations, law enforcement is a key component to keeping people safe. Our officers were out on extra shift duty before, during and after the storm. Fortunately, we had no material incidents, however the level of engagement and visibility that was demonstrated by Chief Maas and his team ensured we all remained safe and secure. Every preparedness planning effort needs a leader and in the case of our City, this is the City Manager, Chris Russo. He stayed in constant coordination with the various staff members throughout the event. On the day of the storm Chris and I rode throughout the City to check on everyone and determine any damage assessments. We have the added benefit of our City Manager living within our City, so Chris ensures that our collective home is well taken care of.

Fortunately Hurricane Matthew spared us. Due to a dedicated and proactive team of professionals, the City of Sunny Isles Beach hoped for the best, but was prepared for the worst!