From the Capitol

Believe it or not, it has been 25 years since Hurricane Andrew wrecked devastating destruction in South Florida on August 24, 1992. Since that time, Florida’s building codes have been rewritten and implemented, emergency management procedures have been improved, and Floridians continue to be more aware of hurricane preparation and recovery.

Some interesting facts about hurricane Andrew:

  • At 180 miles wide, Andrew was initially classified as a category 4 storm with wind speeds of 145 miles per hour, but a re-evaluation showed sustained wind speeds of 173 miles an hour which definitely is a category 5 storm. Andrew went on to hit the Louisiana coast as a category 3 storm.
  • Since records have been kept, only two other category 5 storms have ever made a U.S. landfall – the Labor Day Florida Keys Storm of 1935 and Hurricane Camille in 1969, which hit Louisiana and Mississippi.
  • Making landfall 20 miles southwest of Miami near the City of Homestead, Andrew caused $26.5 billion in damage. Only hurricanes Katrina in 2005, Ike in 2008 and Sandy in 2012 were more costly.
  • Andrew destroyed 25,524 homes, damaged 101,241 more and caused $500 million in boat losses. Only 10 percent of mobile homes remained in the southern part of Miami-Dade County after Andrew.
  • 1.3 million people lost power, and a quarter million people were temporarily homeless after the storm.
  • 70,000 acres of mangrove trees in Biscayne and Everglades national parks were flattened, a third of the pine trees and a fourth of royal palms in the Everglades experienced wind damage. Interestingly, wildlife was largely unaffected.
  • While 1.25 million people were ordered to evacuate as hurricane Andrew barreled toward the U.S. mainland, 15 Floridians, 8 Louisianans and 3 Bahamians died, with 39 other deaths indirectly linked to the storm.

The HistoryMiami Museum is showcasing a special exhibit about hurricane Andrew through January 15, 2018. For more information, go here.

So far this year, Four storms have developed into hurricanes, but only tropical storm Emily impacted Florida at the end of July.

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