Bryan Norcross uses a timeline to relive Hurricane Andrew, which ravaged South Florida, 30 years after it struck.
, FOX Weather
On this day in 1992, Sunday, August 23, we in South Florida were preparing for Hurricane Andrew. That evening, it was coming. We barely had today to get ready. The day was mainly sunny, and in the late afternoon there was a pleasant breeze. There was no indication that a huge, drastically altering hurricane was approaching.
The National Hurricane Center issued a Hurricane Warning at 8:00 AM for the Keys and the Florida east coast from Vero Beach to the Miami region. Despite Andrew being a compact storm and being less than a day away, the region of concern remained vast due to inherent uncertainty in the forecasts of the time.
Public advisory issued by the National Hurricane Center on August 23, 1992, at 8:00 A.M. EDT.
The areas close to the water were ordered to be evacuated.
The following morning, Hurricane Hunters discovered a fully grown hurricane moving toward the Bahamas. A low-flying NOAA-12 satellite took the classic photo of the gorgeous but terrifying storm you see above at 8:31 AM.
A satellite photo taken on August 23, 1992, at 8:31 A.M. EDT, depicts the famous Hurricane Andrew perspective.
The 5:00 AM advisory stated that winds were expected to reach 120 mph based on aircraft data. The highest winds would have been classified as a Category 4 storm at 135 mph using the contemporary paradigm, which takes into account a better understanding of the structure of powerful hurricanes. According to the prognosis, Andrew would keep getting stronger. Ahead lay the warm Gulf Stream seas.
Technical Discussion from the National Hurricane Center on August 23, 1992, at 8:00 A.M. EDT.
By modern standards, Hurricane Andrews’ winds peaked at 170 mph as it approached the Bahamas that Sunday at 2:00 PM.
On August 23, 1992, at 5:00 PM EDT, the National Hurricane Center issued a public advisory (IMG 5).
Three hours later, the eye passed directly above Eleuthera Island’s northernmost point. We were terrified when it happened but were nowhere in the vicinity when the eye touched down. We were aware that it had to be quite nasty, but we also faced significant issues. South Florida was expected to be battered by Hurricane Andrew that evening.
Image 6: On August 23, 1992, at 5:01 PM EDT, a satellite captured Hurricane Andrew’s eye as it passed directly over Eleuthera Island in the Bahamas.
We were unsure exactly where in South Florida would get the worst of it even during the day on Sunday. Somehow, word spread that Hurricane Andrew was expected to make landfall close to the Dade/Broward County boundary. I’m not sure where that came from, but the message definitely spread. I’ve heard it repeatedly. The story of Hurricane Andrew includes it.
That was never predicted by the National Hurricane Center. On Saturday, when Andrew continued to keep to the left of the expected course, their forecasts jumped from north of Palm Beach County to Boca Raton to South Dade. The official prognosis for that Sunday was centered on southern Dade County, south of downtown Miami.
Even while the forecast remained steady throughout the day on Sunday, we were unsure about the exact location of the damage corridor. It seemed equally likely to be in Boca Raton, Fort Lauderdale, Aventura, Miami, or Homestead. However, by sunset, it was sunny.
“ON THIS PATH, THE CENTER OF ANDREW WILL CROSS THE COAST NEAR MIAMI, FLORIDA AROUND DAYBREAK MONDAY MORNING,” the National Hurricane Center stated in its public advisory at 11:00 PM.
On August 23, 1992, at 11:00 p.m. EDT, the National Hurricane Center released
We could no longer hold out hope that Andrew would wane or withdraw. I predicted it will happen for Dade County tonight on television. And so it was.
Along midnight, an outer band went through, and the winds at the coast initially grew to tropical storm strength. And so it started. Andrew arrived at our door.
It will be resumed tomorrow.
Bryan Norcross, a famous expert on hurricanes, broadcast a 23-hour marathon during Hurricane Andrew’s landfall in Florida thirty years ago. During the worst of the storm, his show was the only one to remain on the air, providing many listeners with their sole connection to the outside world. Due to his life-saving counsel, he is credited with saving numerous lives. Bryan will revisit the storm that destroyed South Florida 30 years later and examine the infrastructure alterations that followed. At 10 PM EDT on August 23 and 24, FOX Weather will debut The Wrath of Hurricane Andrew: Tragedy and Triumph.