30 years later: Remembering Hurricane Andrew

Category 5 storm made landfall in South Florida on Aug. 24, 1992

Hurricane Andrew landfall (Brian McNoldy)

MIAMI – Thirty years ago Wednesday, South Florida dealt with one of the worst natural disasters on record.

Hurricane Andrew roared ashore on Aug. 24, 1992, as a powerful Category 5 hurricane.

Andrew made landfall at 4:40 a.m. in Elliott Key, Fla., just south of Miami. It made a second landfall just north of Homestead at 5:05 a.m.

The hurricane churned across Miami-Dade County, inflicting significant damage on much of South Florida.

The cities of Homestead and Florida City were especially hard-hit.

Homestead lost over 99% of its mobile homes, while Florida City reported over 120 homes were demolished.

Andrew demolished the National Weather Service’s doppler radar in Miami. Meteorologists were forced to use a radar in Melbourne, Fla., and satellite imagery for forecasting.

The storm continued to move inland across the Everglades, eventually impacting Collier County in Southwest Florida.

There the community of Everglades City dealt with wind damage and significant storm surge, with much of the town covered with water.

Andrew went on to enter the Gulf of Mexico, with winds of 130 mph.

The hurricane re-intensified briefly in the Gulf but did weaken as it made a second landfall along the southern coast of Louisiana on Aug. 26.

Hurricane Andrew was one of only four Category 5 hurricanes in recorded history to hit the continental United States.

It was the strongest hurricane to hit Florida since the 1935 Labor Day hurricane and was Florida’s costliest hurricane until Hurricane Irma in 2015.

Andrew had long-term effects on Florida.

The storm completely changed building codes in the state. After the significant structural damage from Andrew, Florida instituted stronger statewide building codes.

Hurricane Andrew was the strongest storm to impact Florida until Hurricane Michael made landfall in the Florida panhandle in 2018.

About the Author:

David Heckard is The Weather Authority's Assistant Chief Meteorologist.