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[ Topic » Florida Weather ] [ Selection » Hurricane News: Hurricane Irma is the first Florida storm to surpass Andrew in strength & scope! ]

The way hurricanes are tracked has changed a lot since Hurricane Andrew. Check out some of the new technology used to view storms.


The effects of Hurricane Andrew in Florida proved to be the costliest disaster in the state's history, as well as the then-costliest on record in the United States. Hurricane Andrew formed from a tropical wave on August 16, 1992, in the tropical Atlantic Ocean. It moved west-northwest and remained weak for several days due to strong wind shear. However, after curving westward on August 22nd, 1992, the storm rapidly intensified to reach peak winds of 175 mph (280 km/h). Following its passage through The Bahamas, Andrew made landfall near Homestead, Florida as a Category 5 hurricane on August 24th, 1992. Eventually, Andrew struck southern Louisiana before it dissipated over the eastern United States on August 28th, 1992.

Strong winds from the hurricane significantly affected four counties in the state, which damaged or destroyed over 730,000 houses and buildings, while leaving more than 1 million without power. The storm surge impacted portions of Miami-Dade County, peaking at around 16.9 feet (5.2 m) just north of Homestead near the Burger King International Headquarters; the surge caused significant damage to boats and to the Charles Deering Estate. The nationwide maximum rainfall total from the hurricane was 13.98 inches (355 mm) in the western portion of Miami-Dade County. No major flooding was reported in the state. The hurricane caused about $25.3 billion (1992 USD) in damage and 44 deaths in the state—15 directly from the storm's effects and 29 indirectly related. Many other sources, however, estimated that Andrew caused more than $32 billion in damage in the state. Andrew was, at the time, the costliest hurricane in the history of the United States; it was later surpassed by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Hurricane Ike in 2008, Hurricane Sandy in 2012, and recently Hurricane Harvey in 2017.

In September 2017, Hurricane Irma was the first Florida storm to surpass Andrew in strength and scope, slamming the same region that Andrew had ravaged.

Some officials in Florida considered Andrew the worst storm in the state since the Labor Day hurricane in 1935. Almost all the damage in Florida was caused by strong winds. Although effects from Andrew were catastrophic, the extent of damage was limited mainly from Kendall south to Key Largo due to the small wind field of the storm. Following the storm, more than 1.4 million lost electricity and another 150,000 were without telephone service. It is estimated that throughout Florida some 63,000 homes were destroyed, leaving at least 175,000 people homeless.

In addition to houses, the storm damaged or destroyed 82,000 businesses, 32,900 acres of farmland, 31 public schools, 59 health facilities/hospitals, 9,500 traffic signals, 3,300 miles (5,300 km) of power lines, and 3,000 water mains. Overall, Andrew caused $25.3 billion (1992 USD) in damage and 44 fatalities in the state of Florida alone. However, other estimates report that Andrew created $32 billion in overall damage. Of the 44 deaths, 15 were direct fatalities, while 29 were indirectly caused by the storm. It was later noted that had the storm been slightly larger or made landfall a few miles further north, it would have significantly affected Miami and Fort Lauderdale, which would have resulted in an even higher damage and death toll.


Posted on Fri Sep 08, 2017 6:44 pm by Ernest Buffington
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