Making The Best Of It In Miami Beach

Sep 10, 2017
Originally published on September 11, 2017 2:45 pm
Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

And now we return to our main story, the hurricane in Florida. My colleague Lulu Garcia-Navarro joins us from the newsroom at our member station WLRN in Miami. Hi, Lulu.

LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

Hi.

WERTHEIMER: So what is the latest where you are?

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Well, a million (unintelligible).

PAUL J NATTER: This is the lobby end of our building. And, you know, they're covering the windows. They said that they were going to shut down the elevators because this building gets flooded - the downstairs.

And if the elevators get all the way down there, they're going to get damaged.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: We rode up the elevators, while they still worked, to his apartment.

So this building gets flooded just during regular storms?

NATTER: And high tide at least once a month, you know, when the moon comes up.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Because you're right on the water.

NATTER: Well, that's the bay. That's Biscayne Bay. And, as you can see, you know, we're high up. And this - you know, this building is pretty solid. I think these walls are cinderblocks.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Uh-huh. I have to ask you because you've just told me that in high tide, at least once a month, this building gets flooded. And there's a huge storm coming. Why are you staying here? Why aren't you evacuating? This is under mandatory evacuation.

NATTER: It's not a big deal. I mean, I'm high. I'm not going to drown. The water's not going to come up to here, you know? Why am I not? You know, it's the aftermath. You know, I don't want to go all the way north because - they're going to get hit with a hurricane.

And, you know, the devastation's going to be pretty bad. You know, the roads are going to be full of debris for them to get back. It's going to - they'll probably be another week before you can get back in here.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: So you just feel like there's nowhere safe to go anyway? It's better to be home?

NATTER: Exactly.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Let me see your windows. I mean...

NATTER: Sure.

(SOUNDBITE OF CHAINSAW)

GARCIA-NAVARRO: OK, first of all, what a spectacular view.

NATTER: Right.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: So I can see all the way down to downtown Miami...

NATTER: Right.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: ...And all the islands of Miami Beach with the very fancy houses. It's a stunning view. So I can see why you live here.

NATTER: (Laughter).

GARCIA-NAVARRO: I'm still perplexed about why you stay here. So these windows - are they stormproof?

(SOUNDBITE OF KNOCKING)

NATTER: They survive danger.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: How many people are staying in this building? Do you know?

NATTER: I don't know exactly how many. But there is a nice bunch. You know, I'm really not that worried.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Linda, we reached out to Natter this morning. And he's dry on the 16th floor. But management has informed residents that water is indeed getting into the building.

NATTER: They went through the PA and said that - to please not come down to the lobby because the lobby is starting to take on water - and from - I guess from the wind pressure and the water, you know, getting in through, under the doors. And also that some people on the east side of the building are taking on water also in to their apartments.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: The worst is yet to come, but he's more worried for Key West and Naples, he says, than his own safety.

NATTER: I feel very safe here.

WERTHEIMER: Lulu, tell me - what is the latest where you are? What are you hearing?

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Well, we've got over a million people now without power in South Florida. We can confirm two storm-related deaths here in Florida due to a car crash. Storm surge here in Miami is affecting the downtown area, where the streets are underwater. So the situation here - while the storm has not been impacting South Florida and the east part directly because it's heading up the west coast - we are still feeling its effects, for sure.

WERTHEIMER: And Mr. Natter - you checked back with him, and he's OK?

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Yes, we did. He is apparently OK. And he said that the electricity is off in his building, and the water is coming in. But he is still there.

WERTHEIMER: Thank you very much. That was Paul - you heard from Paul Natter. You heard from Garcia - Lulu Garcia-Navarro, both in Miami. This is NPR News.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.