Hurricane Andrew devastated South Florida 26 years ago today

(WSVN) - It’s hard to imagine, but Friday marks the 26th anniversary of Hurricane Andrew. Those who lived through it will never the morning of August 24th, 1992.

The category 5 storm packed 165 mph winds and spawned hundreds of tornadoes. Andrew left thousands of businesses and homes destroyed. The storm cost more than $26 billion in damage; 43 deaths in the U.S. were blamed on the storm.

Andrew was one of only three category 5 hurricanes to make landfall in the U.S., and is still the most recent, according to the National Weather Service. Hurricane Katrina in 2005 was a category 5 storm in the Gulf of Mexico, but weakened to a category 3 by landfall.

As the days went by, people struggled to find food, water and shelter in the blazing heat. Federal and state disaster relief was slow to coordinate, prompting harsh words from the head of Dade County’s emergency operations, Kate Hale.

“We’re doing everything we can. Where in the hell is the calvary on this one?” Hale said.

Help finally did come. Troops brought in food, supplies and tents for 160,000 people left homeless.

Andrew was the first named system of the 1992 hurricane season and will always stand as a reminder that it only takes one to make hurricane season a disaster.

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