In the six years that I live in the United States, I have never seen a hurricane. In my country, Peru, hurricanes are not known. Although I have heard a lot of them, I do not have really an idea of how it is a hurricane. All I know about the hurricanes is what I have seen on TV or have read in books. According to historians, Christopher Columbus wrote the first known report of a hurricane, after he sailed into the storm in 1495 on the second of his voyages to the Americas.
Probably the most frequently mentioned hurricanes are the Labor Day Hurricane of 1935, and Katrina of 2005, but Andrew of 1992 is much known too, because they say, was in its time the most tragic and costly of all the storms that had affected the United States till then. Andrew left 250,000 homeless people and losses of more than $ 26 million but the worst were the human lives lost. According to the St. Petersburg Times: 44 people died, 15 directly killed by the hurricane, 29 indirect deaths. (*)
It is known that the southeastern region of the United States has a long history of strong hurricanes. Many of them affected this area up to the mid-60s, but not major tropical storms had struck South Florida coasts since then, until the morning of August 24 of 1992.
In the summer of 1992 I was only five year old, so that I did not even know what was going on with the weather. Now I know that in those days, the meteorologists of the National Hurricane Center in Miami remained vigilant of a storm that had its origin in the west coast of Africa, just a few days before.
When the winds of the storm reached 29 miles per hour, the experts classified it as a tropical depression and named it “Andrew”. However, the weather conditions made that Andrew almost dissipated on Augus...
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...round the hurricane Andrews’s eye “was 5 000 times the combined heat and electrical power generation” of nuclear power plant. He also said that “the kinetic energy of the wind at any instant was equivalent to that released by a nuclear warhead”. (**)
Because all the damage caused by the hurricane, in the spring of 1993 the World Meteorological Organization decided to retire the name of Andrew and replace it by the Alex so no other tropical storm may be named as one that is still remembered for the damage it caused. Retiring that name was not only for reducing confusion in the scientific literature but also for respect to its victims.
More than twenty years have passed since Hurricane Andrew, but still people remember those sad days. No one can ensure that similar storms will no longer occur, but it will depend on us that we know how to defend ourselves better.