One of the Strongest Hurricanes That the U.S. Have Ever Seen: Hurricane Andrew
In recent decades, hurricanes have been given not only female names but male names as well. Hurricane Andrew year 1992 was one of the natural disasters with the male name, however, the eye-witnesses of this hurricane named it as «monster», as the Hurricane Andrew strength was so tremendous, that it almost destroyed the city of Miami, which is located on the coast of Florida, and its inhabitants had long been restless and fearful of the return of the deadliest hurricane.
Hurricane Andrew Facts
Andrew arrived in the city of Miami just before dawn on August 24, 1992. In the darkness, he ripped massive concrete beams from buildings and wielded them like clubs, smashing walls and roofs.
Where was hurricane Andrew formed? This violent natural event proved to be of African origin, emerging as a series of squalls along the continent’s west coast on 13 August of 1992. They then swept across the Atlantic, bringing heavy rain and low barometric pressure. Such atmospheric waves have not surprised anyone at the National Hurricane Research Center in the US, but this time there was something out of the ordinary – the degree of disturbance was unusually high. Already on August 17, a tropical storm played out, and Hurricane Andrew’s path continued to the U.S. border.
Then observers began to register strangeness, in the center (eye) the storm was like a furnace, at the edges of which the warm air rose spirally, at a certain point condensing and releasing thermal energy. And the airflow disturbed the balance of heat exchange in the upper layers, so the sluggish and disorganized hurricane began to move northward. Long before reaching coastal Florida, the hurricane’s winds died down even more. Simultaneously, a high-pressure zone was gaining strength, drawing Andrew westward. Hurricane Andrew’s pressure was so high, that in a few days it was transformed into a massive hurricane with category 5 and was about to hit the American continent. At the same time, in South Florida, Friday was ending and people were falling asleep in anticipation of a well-deserved weekend.
On Saturday, meteorologists noted that Andrew had grown into a real hurricane with wind speeds of 120 kilometers per hour. It was clearly not going to stop there, and when the wind speed on Sunday reached 240 kilometers per hour, it became clear that the tragedy would not be over. How wide was Hurricane Andrew? Hurricane was approximately 180 miles wide. It is considered to be a relatively small storm, however, it managed to become one of the most powerful and strongest hurricanes to devastate the continental U.S.
On Bahamas islands, the storm, which caused the death of four people, got a little bit tired and dropped speed to 225 km/hour. However, to the surprise of meteorologists, the eye of the storm recovered very quickly – the swirling currents around it turned into a duplicate wall of the raging wind.
Then the inner wall disappeared and was replaced by the outer wall. Usually, this process takes twenty-four hours and causes a hurricane to lose strength. In Andrew’s case, nine hours were enough. When it was on the shore, the hurricane suddenly revived and gained strength. The reason for this behavior is unclear since overland hurricanes should only get weaker. So, that was just a middle way of the Hurricane Andrew track.
In addition, Andrew’s actual strength could not be determined, as it blew out the appropriate measuring instruments at the American National Hurricane Center. According to estimates, the wind was blowing at 233.5 km/h, some gusts reached speeds of 281.5 km/h, and some could exceed 320 km/h.
Hurricane Andrew Damages
In any case, Hurricane Andrew was recognized as one of the most destructive natural disasters in U.S. history. In Dade County, according to Hurricane Andrew statistics more than 80,000 buildings were destroyed or severely damaged, and some 355,000 people were made homeless. Thousands of cars were damaged, food and water were scarce, and there was no electricity. Trees were uprooted everywhere. Two days later Andrew’s violent temper was felt by residents of the neighboring state of Louisiana. Here the hurricane lost its fervor and disappeared into the Ohio River basin, giving Virginia a parting gift of rain. But it was Miami that took the brunt of the blow. The normally brightly lit city became a black hole, with lightning flashes. Local residents were warned in time, so there were not as many Hurricane Andrew fatalities as there could have been – 43 people. But the hurricane made up for it with a whopping $30 billion in property damage.
The full extent of the storm’s mischief became apparent only in the morning: no kiosk, no traffic light, no sign in the center of town could be found. The famous coconut grove was gone. Traffic was regulated by soldiers or drivers had to show wonders of ingenuity. The high-rise buildings that housed many offices deteriorated.
For how long did hurricane Andrew last? It has lasted for 12 days, from 16th of August to 28th of August. Help arrived only two days after the drama had unfolded. When local officials complained that there was still no supply of food, water, or people to remove the rubble, 16,000 troops arrived and cleared the roads, and unloaded the ships that were lying on the beach.
Volunteers from all over the country helped rebuild destroyed homes. Many people had to live in tents. Mobile medical units drove around the city. However, the hurricane-affected not only people but also animals: horses, dogs, and cats. They also received veterinary care and were returned to their owners.
Two months later, the city began to return to its previous condition. Soldiers left the disaster area, and people learned new trailers. But they would remember what had happened for a very long time.