WASHINGTON (AP) — For an entire generation in South Florida, Hurricane Andrew was the monster storm that reshaped a region. Irma is likely to blow that out of the water.
Bigger and with a 90-degree different path of potential destruction, Irma is forecast to hit lots more people and buildings than 1992’s Andrew, said experts, including veterans of Andrew. At the time Andrew was the costliest hurricane in U.S. history with damages of $26.5 billion in 1992 dollars (about $50 billion in current dollars), according to the National Weather Service.
“The effect of Irma on the state of Florida is going to be much greater than Andrew’s effect,” said Weather Channel senior hurricane specialist Bryan Norcross, who was a local television meteorologist hailed as a hero during Andrew. “We’re dealing with an entirely different level of phenomenon. There is no storm to compare with this. Unless you go way back to 1926.”
Kate Hale, Miami-Dade’s emergency management chief — who grabbed national attention during Andrew by beseeching “where the hell is the cavalry on this one?” — said by nearly every measure Irma looks far worse.