Why does Andrew have its own section: because up until Hurricane Katrina (August 29th, 2005), Andrew was the biggest and most devastating hurricane to ever hit the U.S.


Hurricane Andrew grew out of a tropical wave on August 14th, 1992 off of the west coast of Africa. By August 16th, 1992 it had become a tropical depression. The storm crossed the Atlantic Ocean and intensified over the next 10 days. Andrew made landfall on August 24th, 1992, crossing south Florida in just 4 hours.


If there was one lucky thing to be said about Andrew, it was that the storm was compact: just 60 miles across (in comparison, Katrina was over 400 miles wide and 2003’s Hurricane Isabel, another Category 5 storm, was over 800 miles wide). But, the winds of Andrew were fierce: 165 mph, making it a Category 5. The 1935 Unnamed Labor Day Storm (also a Category 5) was similar to Andrew as it was very compact (the eye of that storm was reported to be only about 8 miles wide).


Hurricane Andrew was initially categorized as a Category 4 storm but was upgraded to Category 5 on August 21st, 2002 ( U.S. scientists had originally measured Andrew’s top wind speed at just 155 mph). Based on an analysis of the damage over time, scientists also believe Andrew had wind gusts of over 200 mph.


Andrew made a direct hit on Homestead, Florida and nearby Florida City (both not too far from Miami). What did the storm leave behind?


  • 28,066 homes were destroyed…


  • 82,000 businesses were destroyed or damaged…


  • 107,380 homes were damaged…


  • 250,000 people were left homeless…


  • 700,000 people were evacuated…


  • 1.4 million homes were left without electricity…


  • Homestead Air Force Base was literally wiped from the map…


  • 1,167 mobile homes were destroyed (Andrew only spared 9 mobile homes in the area!)…



Total losses:


  • $26.5 billion (some media sources put the number as high as $30 billion- when adjusted in 2004 dollars, damage was about $43.67 billion)…

  • Death toll from Hurricane Andrew varies. According to an article in the August 24th, 2004 edition of the St. Petersburg Times:


    • The National Hurricane Center says a total of 44 people died from Andrew (15 directly killed by the hurricane, 29 indirect deaths)…


    • The Centers for Disease Control puts the death toll at 32, (14 directly killed by the hurricane and just 18 indirect deaths)…


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