National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce



"On Monday, August 24,1992, at 4:30 a.m., the eye wall of Hurricane Andrew
passed over this point before striking Homestead and southern Miami-Dade County."
That is the opening line of a plaque to be dedicated May 20 at Florida's Biscayne National Park's Dante Fascell Visitor Center. It commemorates Andrew, one of the costliest hurricane disasters in U.S. history, responsible for damages exceeding $40 billion. The dedication also coincides with National Hurricane Awareness Week, which runs May 19 - 25.

A joint project of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Weather Service's Forecast Office and Hurricane Center in Miami, the National Park Service and the State of Florida; the plaque is dedicated to those who were killed and injured, or left homeless and jobless due to the destructive power of Hurricane Andrew.

With wind gusts exceeding 175 mph and a storm surge of nearly 17 feet, Andrew was also the third strongest land-falling hurricane to strike the United States during the last 100 years. In South Florida, 15 people were killed as a direct result of the hurricane's force, with another 29 indirectly linked to Andrew. Hundreds of people were injured, more than 125,000 homes were destroyed or damaged by the storm's fury, 160,000 people were left homeless and 86,000 residents lost their jobs.

"As extraordinary as these numbers are, they pale in comparison to seeing the aftermath and destruction first hand," said Bill Proenza, director of the National Weather Service's Southern Region. A member of the National Weather Service Disaster Survey Team assigned to assess the devastation left in Andrew's wake, Proenza recalled viewing the damage from a helicopter.

"I'll never forget the views. We could see the destruction in all directions - from horizon to horizon. The fact that more people did not die is a testament to our hurricane forecasters, and excellent preparedness of the residents of South Florida," Proenza added.

Max Mayfield, director of NOAA's National Hurricane Center in Miami, said, "Despite the terrible loss of life and destruction, the disaster could have been worse if the eye of the hurricane made landfall 20 miles to the north. That would have been devastating for downtown Miami and we could have seen a much higher death toll.

"Andrew was also a compact, relatively dry, fast-moving storm. If it had been bigger, slower and carried more rain, we might have seen more destruction," he added.

In addition to Proenza and Mayfield, featured speakers at the dedication include Columba Bush, the wife of Florida Governor Jeb Bush; and Biscayne National Park Superintendent Linda Canzanelli.

"The Governor and I know first-hand the devastation wrought by major hurricanes," said First Lady Columba Bush. "We join the National Weather Service's Hurricane Center and the Florida Division of Emergency Management in commemorating the 10-year anniversary of Hurricane Andrew and honoring the great strides made to improve Florida's readiness for the next major storm."

"Placing the official commemorative plaque at Biscayne National Park, where the storm first made landfall in the U.S., is especially fitting," said Park Superintendent Linda Canzanelli. "While the impacts of the storm are still evident in some parts of the park, it is the resiliency of a healthy ecosystem - and the people who depend on it - that is truly amazing."

Florida was not the only state to feel the fury of Hurricane Andrew. Andrew was still an intense storm as it tracked northwest through the Gulf of Mexico and another landfall on the Louisiana coast. In Louisiana, an additional 17 people died, more than 22,000 multi-family, single family and mobile homes were destroyed or damaged.

NOAA's National Weather Service is the primary source of weather data, forecasts and warnings for the United States and its territories. The National Weather Service operates the most advanced weather and flood warnings and forecast system in the world, helping to protect lives and property and enhance the national economy. To learn more about the National Weather Service, visit:
Web Sites of Interest:
NOAA Hurricane Central
National Hurricane Awareness Week
Hurricane Andrew Report
Jim Lushine at Biscayne Natl Park dedication

WFO Miami Jim Lushine saying a few words at the Andrew Plaque Dedication Ceremony,
with Mrs. Columba Bush, wife of Florida Governor Jeb Bush, watching

SR Director, WFO Miami WCM at dedication

Mrs. Columba Bush, wife of Florida Governor Jeb Bush, Jim Lushine, WFO Miami WCM ,
and X. William Proenza, NWS Southern Region Director

Hurr Andrew Plaque at Biscayne Natl Park

Hurricane Andrew Plaque Dedication at Biscayne National Park In Miami-Dade County