Hurricane Andrew was, at the time of its occurrence in August 1992, the costliest hurricane in United States history. The fourth tropical cyclone and the first hurricane of the 1992 Atlantic hurricane season, Andrew originated from a tropical wave over the central Atlantic. Initially, strong wind shear prevented much intensification, though increasingly favorable conditions allowed the system to become a tropical storm on August 17 and a minimal hurricane six days later. After turning westward, Andrew entered a stage of rapid intensification, strengthening into a Category 5 hurricane near the Bahamas on August 23. It briefly weakened to a Category 4 hurricane over the island nation, but regained Category 5 intensity on August 24 before making landfall on Elliott Key and later in Homestead, Florida. Several hours later, the hurricane emerged into the Gulf of Mexico at Category 4 strength as it curved toward the Gulf Coast of the United States. After weakening to a low-end Category 3 hurricane, Andrew moved ashore near Morgan City, Louisiana. Interaction with land hastened the weakening process, and Andrew was downgraded to a tropical depression by August 27 while crossing Mississippi. The next day, the storm merged with a frontal system over the southern Appalachian Mountains.
In the Bahamas, Andrew brought high tides, hurricane force winds, and tornadoes, which caused considerable damage in the archipelago, especially on Cat Cays. At least 800 houses were destroyed and there was substantial damage to the transport, communications, water, sanitation, agriculture, and fishing sectors. Overall, Andrew caused four deaths and $250 million (1992 USD) in damage in the Bahamas. Throughout the southern portions of Florida, Andrew brought very high winds; a wind gust of 177 mph (282 km/h) was reported at a house in Perrine. Strong winds caused catastrophic damage in Florida, with Miami-Dade County cities of Florida City, Homestead, and Kendall receiving the brunt of the storm. About 63,000 homes were destroyed and over 101,000 others were damaged. This left roughly 175,000 people homeless. As many as 1.4 million people were left without electricity at the height of the storm. In the Everglades, 70,000 acres (280 km2) of trees were knocked down. Additionally, rainfall in Florida was substantial, peaking at 13.98 in (355 mm) in western Miami-Dade County. About $25 billion in damage and 44 fatalities were reported in Florida.
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