Recently I was asked to prepare a Webinar for the Master’s in Public Administration on lessons learned from Hurricane Andrew, the massive storm that devastated the Bahamas and other Caribbean islands and then hit the Florida coast with unparalleled intensity in August 1992.
The tropical storm that was to become Andrew was noticed in early August of 1992 and by August 17th, had been upgraded to the first named storm the season. Because the last major hurricane that had struck Florida was more than a generation before – in 1965 – few members of the public seemed concerned about it. But By August 22nd, Andrew was definitely a hurricane. By the time it passed the Bahamas on August 23rd, it was running at 150 mph. On that day, 700,000 residents of South Florida fled north in a disorganized panic; highways were clogged by panicked people in a desperate attempt to escape. In the meantime, Andrew reached extraordinary wind speeds near Miami – one recording topped out at 164 mph when the eye passed over Homestead, FL at 05:00 on August 24th.