JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – Thirty years ago, one of the strongest hurricanes to affect the United States made land fall on August 24, 1992.
As we remember the 30th year anniversary of Hurricane Andrew, let’s take a look at back at the historic storm.
Hurricane Andrew was first formed from a tropical wave that moved off the African coast on August 14. On August 16, the the National Hurricane Center (NHC) upgraded the system to a tropical depression. A day later the depression grew into a tropical storm an traveled west-northwest towards the Lesser Antilles.
Over the next couple of days, the tropical storm encountered wind sheers, rapid change in wind velocity or direction, which caused the storm to weaken. As wind sheer decreased on August 20, that caused Tropical Storm Andrew to intensify. The storm became a hurricane and continued to strengthen on August 22. Hurricane Andrew intensified to a Category 5 hurricane with winds of 175 mph.
Hurricane Andrew passed over the Bahamas with 160 mph winds and began to weaken as it passed over the Great Bahama Bank. However, Andrew rapidly re-intensified as it moved over the Gulf Stream on its approach to Florida.
The Historic Landfall
On August 24, Hurricane Andrew made its historic landfall along the southeastern tip of Florida with winds reaching up to 150 mph. In just four hours, Hurricane Andrew crossed southern Florida at 18 mph, weakening to a Category 3 hurricane as it made its way across the state of Florida. Just when things seem to take a change for the better, Andrew entered back into the Gulf of Mexico and continued to move quickly and re-strengthening into a Category 4.
With winds up to 145 mph, currents over in the Gulf of Mexico changed, the speed of the hurricane decreased drastically, and it began moving in a northwest direction towards Louisiana. On August 26, Hurricane Andrew made a second landfall in southeastern Louisiana with sustained winds of 115 mph, with the highest wind gust measured at 175 mph.
Twelve hours after landfall in Louisiana, Andrew lost power and was downgraded to a tropical depression. The remains of Hurricane Andrew traveled into Mississippi and brought heavy rain, funnel clouds and strong winds. The tropical depression traveled from Natchez to Vicksburg at about 10 mph. The National Weather Service radar showed a possible tornado near Yazoo City, but no damage or injuries was reported. Mississippi was issued tornado watches throughout the night. The NWS also issued flood watches overnight for parts of southwest and west-central Mississippi.
On Thursday, August 27, all hurricane warnings along the Gulf coast was discontinued.
In the Bahamas, the storm caused $250 million in damage. Four deaths occurred due to the storm, of which one was indirectly related to the hurricane. A total of 800 houses were destroyed, leaving 1,700 people homeless.
It is estimated that throughout Florida some 63,000 homes were destroyed, leaving at least 175,000 people homeless. Overall, Andrew caused $25.3 billion in damage and 44 fatalities in the state of Florida alone.
Numerous reports of funnel clouds were received by officials in Mississippi and tornadoes were suspected to have caused damage in several Mississippi counties. Hurricane Andrew was said to have dropped sufficient amount of rain up to nearly 5 inches in Mississippi and several other neighboring states. The highest amount of rain reported was in Louisiana with 11.92 inches.