Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Hurricane Andrew, 16 years later! (Blog Post I wrote 2 years ago)

Early this morning was the 16 year anniversary of Hurricane Andrew... Officially, the 3rd and last Category 5 to hit the US... Considering the fact my parents live in Coral Gables, I have heard many stories about this killer storm... One of the more amazing stories I heard was from a Cuban gentlemen who was living in Homestead at the time... He described what he called a breach in his home which led to catastrophic failure... He told me the laundry room breached, so he quickly got his wife and two kids and rushed them into an interior bathroom... He held onto the door for dear life and even told me a couple of times he thought he wasn't going to be able to hold the door shut any longer, as his entire house was being destroyed by Andrew... By the grace of God he was able to keep that door shut and when it was all over, he walked out with his family to absolutely nothing! The bathroom his family rode out the storm in was the only room left, as the rest of his house was scattered down the block... Plus, keep in mind that this gentlemen is one of the better home builders in South Florida, so his home was up to standards.... He just took the absolute worst Andrew had to offer!

Hurricane Andrew made landfall just south of Miami, near Homestead, Fl at around 5am on August 24th 1992... At the time Andrew was thought to be a strong Category-4 at 145mph... 12 years later a reanalysis project by the HRD concluded that Andrew was a Category-5 at 165mph... Personally, I agree with the reanalysis 100%... To this date Andrew made landfall as the 4th strongest hurricane by pressure in US history (recorded)... A pressure of 922mb (27.23") at landfall is 4th to Katrina at 920mb, Camille at 909mb, and The Labor Day Hurricane of 1935 at 892mb... The radar image above is the last image Miami received before the radar was damaged/failed... Officially, the highest recorded surface wind gust was observed at 177mph about one mile from the shore in Perrine, FL... Also, officially the highest recorded storm surge was observed at 16.9 feet on SW 184th street, which was the former location of Burger King's world corporate headquarters... Needless to say the damage was incredible!!!

Hurricane Andrew at the time was the costliest US hurricane in history... Today it ranks second to Hurricane Katrina... When you convert to 2005 dollar amounts Andrew had 55.8 billion dollars in damage where Katrina had 81.2 billion dollars in damage... As bad as Andrew was, it actually could have been a lot worse... If Andrew would have made landfall about 30 miles north, then Miami, Miami beach, and South Beach would have been completely annihilated... It would have been especially worse today, as Miami and South Florida in general has doubled in size since 1992... Even today when I go to visit my parents you can see huge skyscrapers being built right on/near the beach! It really is mind boggling to me, and unfortunately it's a disaster in the making...

The proof of this is what has already happened in the past... In 1926, Miami took a direct hit from a strong Category 4 hurricane (935mb) at 150mph (estimated)... The city was completely destroyed... When converting to 2005 dollar amounts the 1926 Miami hurricane had 157 billion dollars in damage... This would rank it number 1 ahead of Katrina... Actually in 2005 dollars, Katrina would be ranked third behind the Galveston 1900 hurricane, which had 99.4 billion dollars in damage... That's just scary in my opinion! My parents next door neighbor who is in his 90's, has been living in South Florida all his life... He has talked to me a few times about the 1926 hurricane and told me that even where my parents house is located in Coral Gables (~ 5 miles inland), it was under many feet of water during that hurricane... Can you even imagine today what Miami would look like if another 1926 hurricane came? I think damage would be well over 500 billion dollars and the loss of life would be much higher than Katrina (3,000+)...

On a side note, the University of Miami was named after this tragedy, hence the Miami Hurricanes!!! UM was founded in 1925 and opened its doors just days after the hurricane passed... The campus was basically destroyed by the hurricane of 1926... Interestingly, the university survived by harvesting coral from the area to repair the school... Ironically, UM is located in Coral Gables, and it's really interesting to me how all the names line up with historical events! Pretty cool in my opinion...


  1. Awesome post, Greg. It is only a matter of time before Miami or another city will be annihilated. It may or may not happen in our lifetimes, but it will happen. Amazing story by your parents' neighbor.

  2. Thanks Mike! Andrew was one amazing storm! So was the Great Miami Hurricane of 1926! And you are so right, it is only a matter of time... South Florida is in a prime location for major hurricanes!