Miami Beach boasts iconic architecture, top restaurants and beautiful beaches. As a vulnerable barrier island next to Florida’s Atlantic Coast, however, this historic town increasingly grapples with rising sea levels, high tides and ever more frequent tropical cyclones. As the extremely busy 2020 hurricane season came to a late close last year, the city once against confronted violent weather. Hurricane Eta, one of a record-breaking 30 named storms last year, was barreling in from the east with a frightening storm surge, howling winds and torrential rain.
Paul Davis of the Gables leapt into action to help customers prepare for the tempest. “Many downtown companies have invested in custom barriers to repel flood waters,” explains Ofelia Lucas, General Manager for this Paul Davis Location. “Our technicians are very experienced with these systems and work with many customers to put them in place if flooding is expected.”
“Expected” is the key concept. It’s relatively easy to forecast “king tides”: extremely high tides that fill Miami Beach streets several times a year. Scientists predict them from the earth’s, moon’s and sun’s expected alignment, giving companies and contractors abundant time to prepare. Hurricane forecasting? Not yet an exact science. Small changes in storm track right before landfall can exponentially change risks within hours.
Paul Davis was fully prepared for the late swerve that put Miami Beach in Eta’s crosshairs. “We installed an entire city block of barriers in just 12 hours,” says Julian San Miguel, Lead Technician, who noted that this complex project would ordinarily require two days of work. “We anchored and braced a very long line of meter-height panels to keep the storm surge out.” The team is always busy as storms approach, San Miguel adds, completing a wide range of preparation tasks including boarding up and sandbagging.
Eta, the first storm of the season to make landfall in Florida, dumped more than half a meter of rain in southern parts of the state, drenching a wide area for nearly five days as it slowly churned over the peninsula. With help from Paul Davis, this protected city block in Miami Beach was ready for the onslaught.
General Manager Lucas, already planning for a busy 2021 storm season, gave several important pointers for any property owner facing storm flooding. “Move furniture inside, clear drains on your property and check generators to ensure they are operational and fueled,” she says. “And if you’re in Miami Beach, don’t forget to protect your vehicles. The city often opens elevated parking garages to the public for free when storms and high tides threaten.”
Need help preparing for a flood? Need help recovering from a flood you didn’t expect? Paul Davis is a phone call away.