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Andrew was a small and ferocious Cape Verde hurricane that wrought unprecedented economic devastation along a path through the northwestern Bahamas the southern Florida peninsula and south-central Louisiana Damage in the United States is estimated to be near 25 billion making Andrew the most expensive natural disaster in US history1 The tropical cyclone struck southern Dade County Florida especially hard with violent winds and storm surges characteristic of a category 4 hurricane on the SaffirSimpson Hurricane Scale and with a central pressure 922 mb that is the third lowest this century for a hurricane at landfall in the United States In Dade County alone the forces of Andrew resulted in 15 deaths and up to one-quarter million people left temporarily homeless An additional 25 lives were lost in Dade County from the indirect effects of Andrew2 The direct loss of life seems remarkably low considering the destruction caused by this hurricane a Synoptic History Satellite pictures and upper-air data indicate that Hurricane Andrew formed from a tropical wave that crossed from the west coast of Africa to the tropical North Atlantic Ocean on 14 August 1992 The wave moved westward at about 20 kt steered by a swift and deep easterly current on the south side of an area of high pressure The wave passed to the south of the Cape Verde Islands on the following day At that point meteorologists at the National Hurricane Center NHC Tropical Satellite Analysis and Forecast TSAF unit and the Synoptic Analysis Branch SAB of the National Environmental Satellite Data and Information Service NESDIS found the wave sufficiently well-organized to begin classifying the intensity of the system using the Dvorak 1984 analysis technique Bibliography wwwfermicom
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