A look back on Hurricane Andrew 25 years later

(WSVN) - It’s hard to imagine, but Thursday marks the 25th anniversary of Hurricane Andrew. If you lived through it, you’ll never forget the fear and devastation of that August morning in 1992. 7’s Craig Stevens takes a look back.

Archive: “We have the core of the hurricane coming in here. It’s well formed and it’s going to cause significant damage.”

We all watched and waited as Hurricane Andrew barreled ashore near Homestead.

It was Aug. 24, 1992 in the early morning hours.

Survivor 1: “You could hear it coming. It’s like hearing that train coming down the tracks.”

The category-5 storm packed 165 mph winds and spawned hundreds of tornadoes.

Survivor 2: “‘God!’ I scream. I screamed, ‘God please don’t kill me. God!'”

When it was all over dawn, broke on disaster.

Survivor 3: “There is no more Homestead. There’s nothing … there’s nothing left.”

Andrew’s ferocious winds left businesses and homes in shambles.

Survivor 4: “The house is destroyed. Our house is destroyed.”

7 Skyforce took to the air, and for the first time South Florida looked on in horror at cars, boats and planes tossed around like toys.

Survivors left in shock picked through the pieces of what had once been their homes.

Survivor 5: “That’s the living room couch that’s up in the tree.”

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, Emergency Operations: “We’re doing everything we can. Where in the hell is the calvary on this one?”

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

Volunteers helped wherever they could and utility companies mobilized, coming from all over the Southeast to help restore power to more than a million people.

Frank Luis, Florida Power and Light: “I’ve never seen nothing like this.”

FPL Lineman Frank Luis remembers those difficult days.

Frank Luis: “Got dressed, went to work and came back 30 days later.”

He and his team worked long, hot hours and slept at FPL service centers.

Frank Luis: “We were getting the power on as fast as we could.”

At the National Hurricane Center, meteorologists continued to track Andrew as it moved out over the Gulf toward Louisiana.
Jack Beven, Senior Hurricane Specialist: “I was, at the time, an intern at the National Hurricane Center.”

Hurricane Specialist Jack Beven says it’s a miracle the center stayed up and running.

Jack Beven: “Despite 164 mph wind gusts and the radar falling off the roof, the NHC stayed operational through the entire storm, which was absolutely amazing.”

Twenty-six people died as Andrew swept through the Bahamas, Florida and Louisiana. The storm cost more than $26 billion in damage.

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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