A tropical wave moved off the west coast of Africa on the 14th of
August. It moved
quickly westward, steered by a warm core high to its north. Narrow spiral bands began
to develop around a center of rotation on the 16th. At that point, the system had likely
become a tropical depression. The easterly verticial wind shear over the system weakened
on the 17th, and the system continued to develop into a tropical storm.
An upper low east of Bermuda steered Andrew more to the north and
system. On the 21st, the southern extent of the upper trough pinched off into a new
upper low to Andrew's southwest, creating a much more favorable upper level
environment. This development, in combination with a surface high near the southeast
coast of the United States, turned Andrew more to the west and rapid strengthening
ensued. In 42 hours, Andrew had strengthen from essentially a strong tropical wave
northeast of the Caribbean to a major hurricane as it continued to barrel westward
It moved across the Bahamas and into south Florida as a category 5
hurricane on the
Saffir-Simpson scale, weakening as it went over the Everglades during its four hour
transit over the Sunshine State. Its track arced northwest in the Gulf of Mexico, and
the hurricane never regained its former intensity. Shearing as it made landfall along
the Louisiana coast, it struck the Mouth of the Atchafalaya Basin early on the morning
of the 26th. As it moved northeast and weakened, it accelerated through the eastern
United States, merging into a frontal band as it closed in on the Mid-Atlantic.
Its track is below, produced by the National Hurricane Center.
The graphics below show the storm total rainfall for Andrew...data
by the National Climatic Data
Center in Asheville, NC and South Florida Water Management. The first row of maps show the detail in
South Florida near Andrew's track.