Hurricane Andrew's 20th anniversary a reminder of storms' power

  • Satellite images show Hurricane Andrew as it appeared Aug. 23 (right), Aug. 24 (center) and Aug. 25 (left) in 1992.
Satellite images show Hurricane Andrew as it appeared Aug.… (NASA Earth Observatory )
August 24, 2012|By Scott Dance

Hurricane Andrew's 20th anniversary is a reminder that storm frequency and storm intensity don't always correlate -- and that we should always be on guard for dangerous hurricanes this time of year.

This year, for example, we have already seen nine named storms, with the tropics active well before the official June 1 start to the hurricane season as well as now in the traditional peak of the season. Two of those storms have made landfall in the U.S., though neither as a hurricane.

In 1992, however, there had been no named storms until Aug. 17, when Tropical Storm Andrew formed in the Atlantic. High wind shear initially inhibited the storm from strengthening, but Andrew later grew to a Category 5 hurricane by Aug. 23.

Satellite image show the storm was well-defined, with a large distinct eye even after it passed over Florida. That is unlike the storms we have seen so far this season.

Andrew caused $45 billion in damage in 2010 dollars -- $26.5 million in 1992 dollars -- making it the costliest Atlantic hurricane in history at the time.

Have a weather question? E-mail me at sdance@baltsun.com or tweet to @MdWeather.

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