Hurricane Andrew was not the deadliest tropical cyclone to strike the U.S. mainland, but the compact, fast-moving storm with gusts as high as 169 miles per hour, remains one of the strongest and costliest on record. The Category 5 storm slammed into southern Florida two decades ago on August 24, 1992. The image is a compilation of data acquired by the GOES-7 satellite that shows Andrew’s progression over the course of three days.
On August 23, the storm was moving through the Atlantic Ocean, over the Bahamas, and on a course for southern Florida. On August 24, it roared into Dade County and the city of Homestead (south of Miami). With a minimum pressure of 922 millibars, Andrew’s winds were so intense that they destroyed all the instruments capable of measuring wind speeds at weather stations. Before failing, an instrument at Fowey Rocks detected gusts as high as 169 miles per hour (280 kilometers per hour); an instrument at a private residence clocked winds blowing as fast as 177 mph (285 km).
Hurricane Andrew at peak intensity. Image credit: Wikimedia Commons
read more Earthobservatory