HOMESTEAD, Fla. — State and community leaders gathered in Homestead on Tuesday, the eve of the 30th year since Hurricane Andrew made its devastating landfall on the city.
Lt. Gov. Jeanette Nuñez and Florida Dept. of Emergency Management Director Kevin Guthrie, flanked by nine other speakers, gathered to highlight the significance of the storm, reflect on the changes in public safety in the years since, and to remind the public about the importance of being weather-ready.
“The lessons learned in 1992 forever changed the field of emergency management and how we prepare for, and respond to, hurricanes impacting our state,” said Guthrie. “Thanks to the tireless work of emergency managers, first responders, and meteorologists over the last 30 years, Florida is a national leader in emergency management, and we continue to improve our field and become more resilient in the face of future hurricanes.”
Fox Weather anchor Bryan Norcross, who helmed Hurricane Andrew coverage for a Miami station, offered congratulations remotely to the first responders and authorities who helped countless residents in the days after the storm.
"I wish I could be there with my great friends from Homestead to remember the night that changed all our lives and also, to celebrate the determination and resilience of the people of South Dade who fought a war with an incredible, off-the-charts hurricane and won," Norcross said.
Andrew made landfall on Aug. 24, 1992, and was blamed for 43 deaths. The storm caused an estimated $30 billion in damage.
According to NOAA in their report on the storm [PDF], "Although Andrew caused significant flooding damage immediately adjacent to the coast, wind damage caused most of the devastation."
Many lessons learned in the wake of Andrew led to improvements in technology for early storm forecasting, increased coordination between local, state, federal, and private sector partners to enhance response capabilities, and a larger focus on mitigation and preparedness efforts to minimize the impact of future storms impacting the state.