Howard Twisters

September 07, 1992

A small group of people in western Howard County understand a little better the devastation and havoc that thousands of Florida and Louisiana residents have endured because of Hurricane Andrew. Two tornadoes, offshoots of Andrew, settled in the county 10 days ago and cut wide swaths. Trees were felled. Two homes were severely damaged. One of the twisters traveled into Carroll County, but rapidly dissipated east of Sykesville.

The winds, far less than Andrew's 165 miles-per-hour gusts, still were fearfully fierce. One person was briefly hospitalized. "I was saying my goodbyes to everybody," said a 24-year-old Browning-Ferris Industries employee, who got caught in the storm. "I thought I was going to die."

Luckily, no one did. The worse of the tornadoes' wrath was absorbed by trees. More than 1,000 were damaged or felled during the storm. Two homes were declared uninhabitable. None of this comes close to the horrors delivered by Andrew, which has been blamed for 36 deaths with tens of thousands left homeless.

The Howard twisters, while minor in comparison, are a close-to-home reminder of how fragile we are in the face of powerful, natural elements. It also should remind us that relief efforts in Florida and Louisiana are far from over, that much can be done locally to help through donations.

Howard officials moved quickly to clean up from the storm. Residents chopped and stacked wood from felled trees. Shelter was found for the two families left homeless. Still, despite a quick and efficient response, county officials are wisely reviewing all disaster procedures.

If there's a lesson to be learned from Andrew and its progeny, it is to be prepared.

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