It was a warm day in Florida; the August sun was kissing the beach in Homestead. Florida had been experiencing its usual climate when there was an alert. On August 12th, off the coast of Africa; a warm front blew into the sea. Along with some interference with the high pressure coming from the north, the front blew westward toward the Bahamas. On its path it turned into a Tropical Depression. From what we all learned in science class, this meant a hurricane was brewing. By August 16th now a full on Hurricane; Andrew had just left Barbados. It had garnered convection and had estimated winds of 50 mph.
While it was dying down, and relatively small there was no need to for emergency procedure. The news died down as the storm stayed overseas, since there were no signs of growth. It wasn’t until the storm reached the southeastern Atlantic and met the ridge where it turned bad. The ridge pushed the storm westward. The storm gradually intensified and soon developed an eye; reaching full on hurricane status. Due to the conditions in the gulf, the storm grew bigger and more favorable. With pressure dropping, the hurricane got even bigger and without being monitored got closer to the United States.
The pressure drop fed the hurricane’s eye, indulging it to a category F4 storm. With winds now at 140 mph, the hurricane charged through the rest of the Bahamas. It reached The Florida Keys on August 22nd with winds of 165 mph. Reaching Florida at 11pm, residents were informed that precautions to protect themselves and their property should be completed. The evacuations ordered were hectic; a total of 1. 5 million were evacuated in all of Florida. Another 27,000 military personnel were dispatched, in addition to tornado warnings. Andrew caused $26. billion with most of the damage being felt in southern Florida. Hitting the keys and Dade County at category F5 strength. As the hurricane crossed the end of southern Florida it weakened and fell into the Gulf of Mexico; holding 135 mph winds. The barometric pressure reading was at 922 MB, at the time the highest hurricane pressure to reach the United States. Dying down the storm merged with a warm front and rose up again, this time headed to Louisiana. The storm cleared the Gulf of Mexico and hit Morgan City Louisiana. As it touched land, the hurricane produced storm tides and flooding.
The affected land spanned from Vermilion Bay to Lake Borgne. The river flooding affected the Tangipahoa River making the waters rise to 3. 8 ft. above normal height. Andrew held over water and spawned out a level 3 tornado. The tornado claimed two lives. In the process it left 60 families homeless from its duration of 10 minutes. The high winds brought 150,000 power outages. In addition to electricity a huge stump in agriculture was claimed; along with $7. 8 million in the fish market. In its wake, there were 17 deaths, with 9 directly associated with Andrew.
In total there was $1 billion in damage. As the storm blew over the rest of the states belaying the Gulf the damage was not as severe. Though the damage toll was indifferent. There were far less casualties. The reasons for prevention was because of the warnings issued and the storms coverage by those directly affected. There was about $500 million in damage, but several storm warnings, sandbags and tornado watches at hand. Due to the topographic conditions, the storm dropped in rainfall and winds. After the storm had dissipated, the burden of its destruction still lingered.
Many people attributed the high damage cost was because of slow response of federal aid to storm victims. Emergency management director Kate Hale exclaimed on national television “where the hell is the cavalry on this one? ” Bush promised reinforcements but still people all the way up to New York sent aid from mobile homes to appliances. Units from the armed forces and air force also made their appearances, much to benefit the people. Insurance claims made by the residents led to the bankruptcy of 11 insurance firms. The wrath of the people was felt.
In the months after the storm, there was a surge in housing arrangements. In legacy of the 10th year anniversary of Hurricane Andrew, Biscayne National Park built a plaque reading: On Monday, August 24, 1992, at 4:30 a. m. , the eye wall of Hurricane Andrew passed over this point before striking Homestead and southern Miami-Dade County. Andrew was one of the most powerful hurricanes in U. S. history with wind gusts exceeding 175 mph and a local record storm tide of 16. 9 feet. Fifteen people in South Florida were killed by the forces of the hurricane and at least 29 died in its aftermath; hundreds more were injured.
The destruction left at least 160,000 people homeless. Tens-of-thousands of jobs were affected and economic recovery took more than five years. Losses in Florida were estimated at $25-30 billion making Andrew the costliest hurricane disaster in U. S history. It was one of the worst storms in history; one that went under looked and inevitably taught the United States a lesson. A lesson in preparation and tactics. It caused a lot of commotion and disaster, earning its name a retired slot for Atlantic Hurricanes. As it still holds position 3 as the worst hurricanes in American history.