Remembering Hurricane Andrew, 26 Years Later

It's been over a quarter of a century since Hurricane Andrew wreaked havoc on the Southeast, and tore its way through South Florida, the Bahamas, and Louisiana. 

Beginning as a tropical wave off the coast of Africa, Andrew made landfall in the middle of the night in South Florida on Aug. 24, 1992, hitting as a Category 5 hurricane in Miami-Dade and Homestead counties and carrying winds upwards of 170 mph with it.

Andrew moved across the state that day, hitting Fort Myers and the Gulf, with storm warnings expanding from Mississippi to Louisiana. 

During the time, President Bush declared South Florida a federal disaster area, and with good reason. Within the region, Andrew: 

  • Completely destroyed more than 63,500 homes
  • Damaged an additional 124,000 homes
  • Caused $26.5 billion in damages
  • Killed 65 people in its path

During that fateful time, 26 years ago, 940WINZ (now 610WIOD) was on-air, covering every horrifying second of it to both faithful and fearful Floridians: 

The following day, Aug. 25, 1992, newspapers and other local outlets detailed and recounted the horror. Headlines like "We Need Help," "Destruction At Dawn," and "The Big One" emerged throughout the state and the nation.

Some 83,000 people left Miami-Dade County in the aftermath, according to a 1995 Sun Sentinel report, and Broward County gained nearly 20,000 of Miami-Dade’s former residents.

Video of the storm's aftermath showed a devastating and desolate scene. Homes had been reduced only to rubble... tress uprooted from the ground and lining the roadways... boats washed ashore... power lines strewn about. The this day, Andrew is still seen as the MOST DESTRUCTIVE HURRICANE IN U.S. HISTORY.

It took months before some level of normalcy returned to the area. 

Although Hurricane Andrew may have taken place 25 years ago, South Florida and the country will never forget -- one of the most powerful and prevailing storms.

In commemoration Thursday, HistoryMiami debuted an exhibit in downtown Miami surrounding Andrew and its impact. Admission is free today for residents of Miami-Dade County.

Twenty-five years later, the memory of Hurricane Andrew still resonates throughout our country.

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