A hurricane is another name for a typhoon. According to the National Hurricane Center, it is defined as "A warm-core tropical cyclone in which the maximum sustained surface wind is 74 mph or more." For years, people have asked the question, "What is the difference between a hurricane and a typhoon?" The difference is fairly simple. The term hurricane is used for Northern Hemisphere storms east of the International Dateline to the Greenwich Meridian. The term typhoon is used for Pacific cyclones north of the Equator west of the International Dateline.
Over the last one-hundred years, there have been many very devastating and deadly cyclones. However, the most devastating and most costly cyclone of them all was Hurricane Andrew. Andrew hit not only one part of the United States but two. After all was said and done and Andrew was long gone, devastation continued. Andrew cost an estimated 25 billion dollars making it the mostly costly disaster ever to hit the United States. That is the reason why Hurricane Andrew was chosen to be researched.
Andrew was a very small but devastating hurricane. It was called a Cape Verde hurricane that led a path of devastation and death through the northwestern Bahamas, the southern Florida peninsula, and south-central Louisiana. The storm struck the southern tip of Dade County especially hard with very violent winds, heavy rain, and a large storm surge that would be expected in a category 4 hurricane on the Saffar Simpson Scale. At this point of the storm, the central pressure was down to 922 millibars. This pressure is the third lowest this century for a hurricane that made landfall in the United States. In Dade County alone, 15 deaths were the result of direct effects of the storm. In Dade County, there were also over one-quarter million people left temporarily homeless. The loss of life seemed remarkably low compared to what the normal of this size would do.
Andrew was certainly a powerhouse when it hit Florida as a strong category storm on the Saffir Simpson Scale. With winds that gusted well over 175 mph, it was a once-in-a-lifetime crisis with a storm of a magnitude as big as Hurricane Andrew. Many records were broken when its winds and storm surge pummeled the South Florida coast. To those hammered by Hurricane Andrew, the other major storms didn't matter because before their very eyes was a seemingly endless path of hurricane destruction. Only two other storms, both category fives, on the Saffir-Simpson scale-were more powerful than Andrew in the twentieth century.
In more ways than one, the story of Hurricane Andrew wasn't just about bad weather conditions. There were many incidents of miraculous survival and sorrowful loss, which were scattered through the hit neighborhoods. Once the magnitude of the severity of destruction was realized, the massive recovery was of epic proportions. In the weeks, months, and years that followed Andrew's landfall, his story continued to unfold.
Surviving the violence of wind and water on the morning of August 24, 1992 was just the beginning. For hundreds and thousands of hurricane victims the real test came in the days and weeks following Hurricane Andrew. They must pass the ultimate test: putting the remaining pieces of their lives together.