National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce
Hurricane Andrew
August 16-28, 1992


Above: GOES 7 Visible Satellite Image of Hurricane Andrew at 2231 UTC (5:31 PM CDT) on August 25, 1992.

Hurricane Andrew was a small yet very intense Cape Verde-type storm that affected the Bahamas, South Florida, and South Louisiana with unprecedented damage.  The hurricane inflicted around $25 billion in losses to the United States.

Andrew's journey began as a tropical wave departing the West African coast on August 14th.  By August 16th, the wave was organized enough to be classified a tropical depression, and then a tropical storm on the 17th.  Andrew tracked west to northwest across the Atlantic around the south side of a ridge of high pressure. An upper low near Bermuda initially kept Tropical Storm Andrew from developing stronger as convection around the storm was sheared away from the low-level center. Eventually, the upper low weakened and retreated north while a deep ridge of high pressure over the southeastern U.S. strengthened and turned the system back to the west.  

With the upper level ridge of high pressure firmly established across the Eastern United States and Western Atlantic, Andrew reached minimal hurricane intensity early on the 22nd and began to accelerate westward. During the next 36 hours, Andrew explosively intensified from a category one to a category five hurricane by mid-day on the 23rd. During this period, the central pressure dropped 72 millibars, allowing the storm to reach its maximum intensity of 175 mph (150 knots) with a minimum central pressure of 922 mb (27.23 inches). The ridge held steady over the next couple of days, driving the small but very intense hurricane west. Andrew weakened slightly to a category four hurricane while crossing the Bahamas, but re-intensified to a category five while crossing the Gulf Stream east of the Florida peninsula. The storm slammed Dade County, Florida (south of downtown Miami, near Homestead) around 5 AM EDT on August 24th with winds of 165 mph (
145 knots) and a minimum central pressure of 922 millibars (27.23 inches). The Miami, FL WSR-57 radar (located on the roof of the National Hurricane Center) was destroyed shortly after the last complete scan of Hurricane Andrew at landfall. The newly installed Melbourne, FL WSR-88D captured Andrew's landfall and trek across South Florida.

Andrew weakened slightly to a category four while traversing South Florida for a few hours, eventually emerging over the Gulf of Mexico.  For the remainder of the 24th, Andrew continued to move quickly west-northwestward with little change in strength.  By the late morning hours of the 25th, an eyewall replacement cycle completed, with a much larger eye emerging on visible satellite imagery as Andrew slowly strengthened once again.  Andrew reached 145 mph (125 knots) and a minimum central pressure of 937 millibars (27.67 inches) during the late afternoon and early evening hours of the 25th, about 50 miles south of the Southeast Louisiana coast.  Andrew began to slow down and move northwest for the remainder of the 25th as an approaching upper-level trough began eroding the western side of the ridge.  

Hurricane Andrew continued to weaken during the early morning hours of August 26th as the eye paralleled just offshore the South-Central Louisiana coast. Andrew finally made landfall
near Point Chevreuil (about 20 miles west-southwest of Morgan City) at 3:30 AM CDT as a category 3 hurricane with winds of 115 mph (100 knots) and a central pressure of 956 millibars (28.23 inches). The newly installed Houston, TX WSR-88D captured Andrew's landfall across South Central Louisiana. See the Radar and Satellite Animation Imagery section for the animation sequences of Andrew

After landfall, Andrew continued on a more northerly track while weakening across South-Central Louisiana, traversing most of the Atchafalaya Basin.  Andrew was downgraded to a tropical storm by noontime, northwest of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The storm was further downgraded to a tropical depression by midnight on the 27th, just southwest of Jackson, Mississippi.  
Click here for an interactive track of Hurricane Andrew

STORM SURGE:
The highest storm surge values of 5 to 8 feet were mainly observed from Cypremort Point, LA and points east across eastern St. Mary Parish where the eye made landfall. Further west, tides were below astronomical level due to the strong northerly winds pushing the water south into the Gulf of Mexico.

WIND & PRESSURE:
The highest winds and lowest pressures were recorded on August 26th. A peak wind gust of 121 mph was recorded at the Berwick, Louisiana Fire Station, but the elevation of the anemometer is unknown. A peak wind gust of 107 mph was recorded at Morgan City, Louisiana. Jeanerette, Louisiana recorded a maximum sustained wind of 78 mph (68 knots) with a peak gust of 87 mph (76 knots), along with a minimum sea level pressure of 975.0 mb (28.79 inches) at 3:45 AM CDT. At Salt Point, Louisiana near the point of landfall, the last AMOS observation (due to power outage and likely instrument failure) recorded a wind gust of 83 mph (72 knots) at 2:58 AM CDT.

Further inland, Lafayette, Louisiana recorded a maximum sustained wind of 54 mph (47 knots) and a peak wind gust of 72 mph (62 knots), along with a minimum sea level pressure of 990.5 millibars (29.25 inches) between 6-8 AM CDT. For meteorological statistics at other locations, see the Wind and Pressure section.

Power outages and damage to homes and businesses across South Central Louisiana, especially across St. Mary, Iberia, and St. Martin parishes was extensive. Damage to crops, especially to sugarcane, was extensive. Massive fish kills occurred across the Atchafalaya Basin where the high winds defoliated most of the trees. Further inland across Lafayette, Acadia, and St. Landry parishes, power outages were common due to powerlines and poles downed, with extensive tree limb breakage and some trees uprooted. Signs and billboards were damaged or toppled, along with some damage to roofs, mobile homes, and lighter structures. In Lafayette parish, one death was attributed to traffic accident with no power to traffic lights, and 62 other injuries noted across the parish.

RAINFALL:
The highest rainfall total in Louisiana occurred at Hammond with 11.92 inches. For our region west of the Atchafalaya River, rainfall of 5 to 9 inches occurred across South Central Louisiana along and east of the path of Andrew, with the highest total of 9.31 inches occurring at Morgan City, Louisiana. See the Rainfall section for detailed rainfall totals.

TORNADOES:
Several tornadoes occurred ahead and during Andrew’s landfall, most of them east of the Atchafalaya River. The strongest tornado occurred from Reserve to LaPlace, Louisiana between 8:10-8:20 PM CDT August 25th, rated an F3, killed 2 people and injured 32 others. Other weaker tornadoes were recorded across Ascension, Iberville, East Baton Rouge, and Point Coupee parishes. West of the Atchafalaya River, two tornadoes were recorded in Avoyelles parish near Evergreen and Long Bridge.

Radar and Satellite Animated Imagery
(NWS LCH YouTube)

Radar Imagery: Miami, FL (WSR-57) Melbourne, FL (WSR-88D) New Orleans, LA (WSR-57)
Lake Charles, LA (WSR-57) Houston, TX (WSR-88D)  
Satellite Imagery: 7km Infrared 4km Visible 1km Visible

 

Additional Data, Maps, Tables 
Storm Surge Wind and Pressure Rainfall

 

Other Post Storm Reports
Lake Charles, LA Baton Rouge, LA New Orleans, LA
National Hurricane Center
Hurricane Research Division
Monthly Weather Review - 1992 Atlantic Hurricane Season

 

News
ABC News August 26, 1992: Hurricane Andrew hits Louisiana


Webpage design and content by:
Donovan Landreneau, Andy Tingler, Lance Escudé, Jonathan Brazzell, Donald Jones