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A satellite photograph of Hurricane Andrew. (SRC National Climatic Data Center, NOAA)

Hurricane Andrew

So What?

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Hurricane Andrew was the second most costly hurricane to hit America.

Andrew first became a tropical depression on August 16 1992 and on August 17, became the first tropical storm of the season. On August 22 it reached hurricane strength. It reached the south east coast of the USA on August 24th.

Hurricane Andrew first hit the north-western part of the Bahamas, which are part of the Caribbean islands. It then went on to affect the southern Florida peninsula and south-central Louisiana, which form part of the main land of the United States of America.

Like all hurricanes Andrew formed in the Atlantic Ocean. Sea temperatures have to be 27c or over for one to occur. It actually started as a tropical wave off the west coast of Africa. It then moved towards the tropical part of the North Atlantic Ocean, where sea temperatures are high. The warm humid air began to rise, which then cooled, condensed and formed clouds. The gap left was filled with air from outside the system. This process continues giving the hurricane more and more energy. The air then begins to spiral because the earth is rotating. The whole hurricane then swirls in an anticlockwise direction and begins to move sometimes hitting land. Andrew was the first tropical storm of the 1992 hurricane season.

So What?
As already stated Andrew was the most costly hurricane to hit America. In simple words the devastation it caused cost a lot of money to repair. People were surprised that the loss of life was not greater considering the force of the hurricane. The number of deaths totaled 26 as a direct result of the hurricane but the number rose to 65 as indirect losses occurred. The total damage was estimated to be $25 billion. Andrew reportedly destroyed 25,524 homes and damaged 101,241 others. In Dade County 99% of mobile homes were destroyed. Storm Surges also caused problems with surges of up to 16.9ft hitting Burger King international headquarters. Rainfall reports said that several inches fell in just a few hours. The death toll remained low in America because of the hurricane precautions they are able to take. One thing that is available is the satellite equipment that enables them to track the hurricanes and give people warning about when it will hit. Another factor that saved lives was the massive evacuation programme. Around 55,000 people left the Florida Keys. Another 517,000 People left Dade County, 300,000 in Broward County, 315,000 in Palm Beach County and 15,000 in St, Lucie County. Afterwards due to America being an MEDC they were able to clear up the effects of the hurricane and provide alternative accommodation whilst homes were rebuilt.


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