Looking Back at Hurricane Andrew, Over 20 Years Later

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HOMESTEAD, Florida Hurricane Andrew made landfall in South Florida in August of 1992. The community of Homestead, south of Miami, was one of the locations hardest hit by the Category 5 storm.

According to the Miami - South Florida National Weather Service office, Hurricane Andrew caused an estimated $26 billion in damages -- making it the most expensive natural disaster in United States history, at that time.

Andrew came on land on August 24th, with a sustained wind of 175mph. The storm caused 65 deaths, destroyed over 23,000 homes, and is estimated to have damaged an additional 108,000 more between South Florida and South Central Louisiana, where it made a second landfall after moving back into the Gulf of Mexico.

Homestead resident Terry Lytle remembers that Andrew initially was not supposed to impact South Florida. In fact, he said the forecast called for it to move 70 miles to the north towards Pompano Beach. Because of that, many were not prepared for the storm until the evening before it made landfall.

One of the hardest hit areas was Homestead Air Force Base. It has since reopened, but only as an Air Reserve Base. Many buildings still sit empty and overgrown with vegetation. Other parts of the base have been bought by Dade County and turned into park space.

Even with Hurricane Andrew devastating South Florida over 22 years ago -- it is still prompting the need for research and development today.

After the storm, the International Hurricane Research Center was created to talk about resiliency and mitigation, and how buildings can be made stronger. The ultimate goal is to make better business codes so residents will be able to ride out a strong wind event, in their homes, when tropical systems threaten the coast.

Hurricane Andrew 1992 Track