Hurricane Andrew was the third most intense storm at the time of landfall to strike the U.S. mainland this century. It struck Dade county, Florida on August 24 as a category 4 hurricane with a central pressure of 922 mb, the third lowest for a hurricane at landfall this century. Andrew made a second U.S. landfall on a sparsely populated section of the south-central Louisiana coast as a category 3 hurricane. In southeast Florida, Louisiana, and Mississippi, rainfall totals in excess of seven inches were recorded. Rainfall amounts near five inches occurred in several neighboring states. Estimated damages in the U.S. of $25 billion make hurricane Andrew the most expensive natural disaster in U.S. history. It was reported Andrew destroyed 25,524 homes and damaged 101,241 others. Andrew was directly responsible for 26 deaths, but including indirect loss of life the death toll was 65.
Immediately after the passing of hurricane Andrew through south Florida a large turbidity signal is apparent in the vicinity of Florida Bay, Florida and to the north as well as in Biscayne Bay, Florida (on the east coast). During summer months bottom reflection can compose a significant part of the signal in Florida Bay but the difference image reveals that Andrew was responsible for large changes. Within the southwest Florida coastal area, the highest turbidity values are to the left of the hurricane track (after image) but the largest regional affected extent lies to the right as may be expected with the stronger hurricane winds in this region. Smaller turbidity changes are also apparent off Cape St. George in the Florida panhandle region.
The difference image reveals overall cooling on the order of 2-4 °C with some local cooling up to 6 °C. The after image depicts a large cool plume on the western side of Florida to the north of the hurricane track.