"Prepare for the worst": Miami reflects 30 years after Hurricane Andrew
Thirty years ago this week, Hurricane Andrew touched down in South Dade and changed Miami forever.
- The Category-5 storm — which made landfall Aug. 24, 1992 — killed 65 people, destroyed 63,000 homes and caused an estimated $26 billion in damage, according to media reports.
Fast forward: In the aftermath, local leaders created a new building code in South Florida, using lessons from Hurricane Andrew to better withstand monster storms. The post-Andrew code requires that new buildings have impact windows or shutters and bans the use of cheaper materials like particle board, the South Florida Sun- Sentinel reports.
- Hurricane Andrew also exposed flaws in construction practices, inspections and emergency preparedness that local officials and lawmakers have since addressed.
Plus: Hurricane forecasting has also advanced since Andrew hit, according to the National Hurricane Center.
- Forecasters say technological advances have increased track forecast accuracy by 75% and intensity forecasts by 50% since 1992.
Yes, but: Despite improvements, economists told the Sentinel that we aren't exactly in the clear.
- The economic loss of another monster hurricane in the future could be worse than Andrew due to the population boom in South Florida and higher property values.
What they're saying: Fox Weather hurricane specialist Bryan Norcross, who famously broadcasted for 23 hours straight during the storm, tells Axios that Andrew taught him to prepare for the worst.
- "The key lesson of Hurricane Andrew is that the worst does happen," he wrote in a statement. "The takeaway is, you prepare for the worst, and adjust down as the situation allows. When a Category 3 or stronger storm is forecast, preparing for something at some level less than maximum is hope-casting, not accepting the reality of living in the hurricane zone."
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