Hurricane Andrew is a storm that originated from a tropical wave over the central Atlantic in 1992. It first started as a low-pressure system off the coast of Africa and seemed no different from many other atmospheric ripples that form every summer in this part of the world (Pimm, Stuart & Gary 19). However, the seemingly innocent weather system slowly gained enough strength and by August 16, 1992 Hurricane Andrew had grown into a significant tropical storm and officially given the name: "Andrew."
Shear from strong wind prevented intensification of the storm at first. However, the following day saw a decrease in shear, which allowed the strengthening of the depression thus becoming Tropical Storm Andrew. On August 18, convection associated with the storm diminished due to increase in wind shear. Andrew later headed westward due to the effect of a high-pressure system. It then increased rapidly before crossing Bahamas (Pimm, Stuart, & Gary 24). Andrew became category 5 hurricane 5 days after its start. Its system saw a decrease in its system thus dropped to a category 4 hurricane. However, it re-intensified into a category 5 hurricane a day later before landing on Florida, Elliot Key, and Homestead.
Hurricane Andrew came into view in the Gulf of Mexico as a category 4 hurricane and slowly turned northward in the direction of the United States' Gulf Coast. Before reaching Louisiana, Hurricane Andrew decreased in strength becoming a Category 3 hurricane. Hurricane Andrew was a category 4 storm with a persisted speed of 225km/hr. At Louisiana, Hurricane Andrew had wind speeds of 200km/hr and passed the central Gulf Coast of United States with a speed of 225km/hr (Pimm, Stuart & Gary 21). It had a wind speed of 225km/hr while passing across the Gulf of Mexico. During the start, the wave was moving westward at 20kt. On 20th August, surface wind speeds increased to 40kt while the wind speeds at an altitude of 1500ft were 70kt. Its maximum surface speed winds around Florida were 125kt.
Path it took
Hurricane Andrew initially started from the coast of Africa on August 14, 1992. High-pressure ridge on its northern side made the wave move westward. Its speed increased up to 80km/hr and eventually spiral bands caused the wave to turn northwest. High pressure cells in the southeastern U.S. resulted to the change of direction of Hurricane towards the west. It reached the east-southeast of Bahamas on August 22 and later landed in Florida with wind speeds of 169km/h (Pimm, Stuart & Gary 22). Favorable conditions accelerated Hurricane Andrew in the westward, therefore, intensifying it. On August 23, Hurricane Andrew became category 5 hurricane with the highest wind speeds of 280km/h before reaching Bahamas. The cyclone weakened when crossing the banks of Bahamas before hitting the islands of Berry in Bahamas with winds of 240km/h. Hurricane Andrew hit Elliot Key with winds of 266km/h on August 24 and later hit Florida. Homestead was its next path some few minutes after hitting Florida.
Increased convergence caused the convection in the eyewall to increase while the eye was moving onshore in Florida. Hurricane Andrew crossed Florida using fours before appearing in the Gulf of Mexico with wind speeds of 217km/h. It turned west-northwest as its eye was still well defined. This change was because of weakening of its northern ridge. Decrease in its high-pressure system made the hurricane decelerate toward the northwest as it was approaching the Gulf Coast of the United States. It later landed at Louisiana at a place with less population west-southwest of the City of Morgan. On August 27, Hurricane Andrew, while entering Mississippi, weakened significantly when turning north and northeast thus becoming a tropical storm in a matter of hours (Pimm, Stuart & Gary 23). It accelerated northeastward as the depression started merging with the frontal system approaching it, and by noon August 28, Hurricane did not meet the requirements of a tropical cyclone. Its remaining followed the northeast direction before losing its character in the frontal zone of the states of Mid-Atlantic.
Hurricane Andrew commenced as a tropical wave on August 16 before intensifying its strength to become a hurricane. It became a tropical storm named Andrew on August 17 before becoming a minimal hurricane on August 23. It later became a category 5 hurricane before dropping to a category 4 hurricane on the same day (Pimm, Stuart & Gary 24). However, it increased its strength on august 24 while making a landfall on Elliot Key, Florida, and Homestead. By August 28, Hurricane Andrew had a frontal system in the Appalachian Mountains.
Locations of Landfalls
The locations of Bahamas, Florida, and Louisiana made them prone to attack by hurricane Andrew. 29 islands constitute Bahamas on the Atlantic Ocean making them possible destination for hurricanes. Its location is in the northwest of Caicos Islands, and southeast of the U.S. This lies along the path of Hurricane Andrew thus suffering the attack. Florida is located on the west part of the Atlantic Ocean and east of the Gulf of Mexico (Pimm, Stuart & Gary 15). Hurricane Andrew travelled westwards from central Atlantic thus hitting Florida. Louisiana coastal lands stretch along the coast of Gulf of Mexico, a distance of over 130km. The westward movement of Hurricane Andrew made it possible for it to hit Louisiana.
Areas and Extent of Damage
Hurricane Andrew resulted to heavy damage in Bahamas. It hit Eleuthera first resulting to the death of one person from drowning while two others died in The Bluff. It destroyed expensive homes in Cat Cay with many people remaining homeless. Bahamas suffered a cost of almost $250 million (Smith, Stanley & Mccarty 30). 800 houses underwent destructions with 1700 people remaining homeless. Transport, communication, water, agriculture, fishing, and water also underwent a lot of destruction.
In Florida, Hurricane Andrew caused destruction worth $500 million. Boats and hotels suffered destruction due to the high winds. Wind and water caused damaged most things in Cutler Ridge Mall. In Miami-Dade County, Andrew destroyed more than 25,524 homes while damaging 101,241 homes (Smith, Stanley & Mccarty 32). It also blocked most streets using fallen trees. Moreover, it also damaged billboards, awnings, boats, and commercial signs. Andrew resulted to 44 fatalities in the state of Florida. Hurricane Andrew destroyed 25% of trees in Everglades National Park.
In Louisiana, Hurricane Andrew resulted to flooding in River Tangipahoa. There was also flooding in Vermillion Bay up to Lake Borgne. There were 9 cases of fatalities and 75 injuries because of the hurricane. Moreover, it destroyed roofs and destroyed many mobile homes while scattering debris in most places in the state. The hurricane damaged over 23,000 homes across the state and destroyed 985 homes. 187 million freshwater fish died due to the hurricane damaging the fishing industry worth $289 million (Tilmant, James & Curry 51). Hurricane Andrew resulted to a loss of approximately $1.56 billion in the state of Louisiana. In the Gulf of Mexico, Andrew toppled 13 oil platforms while tilting 5. It also toppled 21 satellites and tilted 23 others. It damaged structures many structures and polluted the environment too. Hurricane Andrew also blew off 5 drillings wells resulting to two fires. Preliminary estimation showed a total loss of $0.5 billion in the Gulf of Mexico.
Other areas in Florida and Bahamas are still recovering from the effects of Hurricane Andrew: these areas underwent much destruction by the hurricane. However, Louisiana took less than five years to recover, as the damages were not terribly severe. The U.S. government gave Florida and Louisiana a total of $11.1 billion as aid package. This was for disaster benefits, business loans, recovery in agriculture and housing (Zhang, Yang & Walter 40). Moreover, the U.S. deployed 1300 National Guardsmen to help people in Louisiana recover from the disaster.