- Andrew was the fourth tropical/subtropical cyclone to form during the 1992 Atlantic hurricane season. The first was a subtropical storm in late April which would have claimed the name Andrew but subtropical storms were not given names until 2002. The second and third were tropical depressions in late June and late July, and then the fourth (which would have been named Bonnie) formed in mid-August. The inactive season ended a couple of months later with a total of just seven named storms (including the April subtropical storm); the only year to have so few storms form since then was 1994 (also seven). But, it only takes one...
Hurricane Andrew's track and intensity (colored by Saffir-Simpson category); dates are labeled along the track at 0000 UTC each day. Click for full-size image.
- Tropical Depression Three formed from an African easterly wave on August 16 about 1800 miles east of the Windward Islands. It strengthened into Tropical Storm Andrew on August 17. It began to rapidly intensify and reached Category 1 hurricane intensity on August 22 and then became a Category 5 hurricane just 30 hours later over the northern Bahamas. Andrew reached its lifetime peak intensity just before passing over northern Eleuthera Island with sustained winds of 175 mph on the afternoon of August 23.
- The previous Category 5 hurricane anywhere in the Atlantic was Hugo (1989) and the next one was Mitch (1998). The previous Category 5 hurricane to pass over the northern Bahamas was the Great Abaco Hurricane (1932) and the next one was Dorian (2019). Over the past century, only 2-3% of Atlantic tropical cyclones reach Category 5 hurricane intensity.
7-day infrared satellite animation from GOES-7 spanning August 20 0000 UTC
through August 27 0000 UTC. Click for full-size animation.
2-day infrared satellite animation from GOES-7. Click for full-size animation.
2-day visible satellite animation from GOES-7. Click for full-size animation.
12-hour visible satellite animation from GOES-7, ending at sunset on August 23.
Click for full-size animation.
- It weakened only slightly before re-intensifying to a Category 5 hurricane during the early morning hours of the 24th, just as it made landfall south of Miami, Florida at about 5am. The WSR-57 radar in Miami was located 1.8 miles inland and 17.5 miles north of the landfall point; it was destroyed by the wind and this animation below ends at the infamous last scan at 4:38am as the center of the hurricane was crossing Elliot Key. The previous Category 5 hurricane to pass over south Florida was the Labor Day Hurricane (1935) and none have since Andrew.
- At the time of its Florida landfall, Andrew produced peak sustained winds of 165 mph, generated a maximum storm surge of 17 feet, and had a central pressure of 922 millibars. In the continental United States, this landfall ranks as the third strongest by wind speed and fifth deepest by central pressure (as of 2022).
7-hour radar animation from Miami FL. Click for full-size animation.
- This 24-hour-long radar loop comes from the WSR-88D radar in Melbourne, FL and covers Andrew's full journey across the Florida peninsula. At this distance from the radar, we are seeing the eyewall about 26,000 feet above the ground and at a much poorer resolution compared to the Miami radar's perspective.
24-hour radar animation from Melbourne FL. Click for full-size animation.
- The image below shows an estimate of the sustained surface wind field at the time of landfall; the wind speed values are in knots, so multiply by 1.15 to get miles per hour. The thick line at 64 denotes hurricane-force winds, and the highest contour shown on here is 150 kt (175 mph) located just offshore in the northern eyewall. The radius of the eyewall was extremely small at just 11.5 miles -- this spared downtown Miami from experiencing the catastrophic winds in the northern eyewall just 8 miles to the south. You also notice the typical dramatic decay of wind speed over land.
Analysis of sustained surface wind speed at the time of landfall (contour values in knots) from
the H*WIND algorithm, courtesy of NOAA/HRD. Click for full-size image, or view in Google Earth
- It weakened slightly to a Category 4 hurricane again during the three hours it took to traverse the southern Florida peninsula, and weakened further to a still-powerful Category 3 hurricane as it made landfall just west of New Orleans, Louisiana on August 26. The animation below is from the WSR-57 radar in Slidell. At this final landfall, the peak sustained winds were 115 mph and the central pressure was 956 millibars.
18-hour radar animation from New Orleans LA. Click for full-size animation.
- These next two images show the National Hurricane Center forecasts of track and intensity for Andrew. The thick black line is the observed position/intensity, and the colored lines are the individual three-day forecasts made every six hours.
- This single storm, in an otherwise quiet hurricane season, caused 65 fatalities and nearly $60 billion in damage (2022 USD). It forever changed the insurance market and building codes in south Florida, and is etched in residents' memories decades later.