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Published on Aug 19, 2012
Between August 23rd and 26th, 1992 one of the most violent and infamous storms in Atlantic history, Hurricane Andrew, devastated portions of the Bahamas, South Florida and Louisiana. Andrew was responsible for 26 direct fatalities and resulted in insured losses nearing $27 billion, making the storm the costliest Atlantic hurricane, as well as the most destructive natural disaster in United States history, at that time.
Just after 4:00am EDT (0800 UTC) on August 24th, 1992 twenty-seven years of near misses, complacency, and luck in South Florida ended as Hurricane Andrew's western eyewall moved onshore in Dade county, just south of Miami, with a phenomenal violence unequaled in the city's history. Sustained winds of 165mi/h (145kt) with gusts in excess of 200mi/h (175kt) spread ashore with catastrophic effect. The first major hurricane to strike the area since Betsy in 1965, and the first major hurricane to directly affect Miami since "King" in 1950, Andrew began a reign of destruction that would forever change the face of the region and would redefine the word "hurricane" for all who experienced its full fury.
Alongside the hundreds of thousands of residents who suffered through that terrifying experience two decades ago, a small group of veteran storm chasers, including myself, had the rare opportunity to document Hurricane Andrew's incredible violence at a direct coastal location.
In commemoration of Andrew's 20th anniversary I'm presenting this digitally re-mastered, high-quality edition of my chase footage.
Of course, nighttime hurricane landfalls are notoriously difficult to record and Hurricane Andrew was no exception, with the peak of the storm occurring in near total darkness. This made filming conditions exceptionally challenging, however, using a portable spotlight I was able to videotape a good portion of the storm's impact at my location during the entire landfall period. That said, given the arduous filming conditions, and the limitations of the video equipment at that time, a concession must be made to the quality of this footage.
Without actually experiencing an event of this magnitude, first-hand, it's difficult to truly understand the incredible ferocity, unrelenting power, and somber aftermath a violent hurricane commands.
This new 20th anniversary commemorative edition of my chase footage is dedicated to all those who were affected by Hurricane Andrew... to the meteorological, scientific, and storm chasing communities who strive to further our understanding of these amazing forces of nature... and to future generations who will carry the quest for that knowledge forward.