Hurricane Andrew was a destructive Category 5 Atlantic hurricane that struck the Bahamas, Florida, and Louisiana in mid-to-late August 1992. It was the most destructive hurricane to ever hit Florida until Hurricane Irma surpassed it 25 years later. It was the strongest in decades and the costliest hurricane to make landfall anywhere in the United States until it was surpassed by Katrina in 2005. Andrew caused major damage in the Bahamas and Louisiana, but the greatest impact was felt in South Florida, where the storm made landfall as a Category 5 hurricane, with sustained wind speeds as high as 165 mph (270 km/h). Passing directly through the city of Homestead in Dade County (now known as Miami-Dade County), Andrew stripped many homes of all but their concrete foundations. In total, Andrew destroyed more than 63,500 houses, damaged more than 124,000 others, caused $27.4 billion in damage, and left 65 people dead.
Andrew began as a tropical depression over the eastern Atlantic Ocean on August 16. After spending a week without significantly strengthening itself in the central Atlantic, it rapidly intensified into a powerful Category 5 hurricane while moving westward towards the Bahamas on August 23. Though it briefly weakened to Category 4 status while traversing the Bahamas, it regained Category 5 intensity before making landfall in Florida on Elliott Key and then Homestead on August 24. With a barometric pressure of 922 mbar (27.23 inHg) at the time of landfall in Florida, Andrew is the sixth most-intense hurricane to strike the United States. Several hours later, the hurricane emerged over the Gulf of Mexico at Category 4 strength, with the Gulf Coast of the United States in its dangerous path. After turning northwestward and weakening further, Andrew moved ashore near Morgan City, Louisiana, as a low-end Category 3 storm. After moving inland, the small hurricane curved northeastward and rapidly lost its intensity, merging with a frontal system over the southern Appalachian Mountains on August 28.
Hurricane Andrew first inflicted structural damage as it moved through the Bahamas, especially in Cat Cays, lashing the islands with storm surge, hurricane-force winds, and tornadoes. About 800 houses were destroyed in the archipelago, and there was substantial damage to the transport, water, sanitation, agriculture, and fishing sectors. Andrew left four dead and $250 million in damage throughout the Bahamas. In parts of southern Florida, Andrew produced severe winds; a wind gust of 177 mph (282 km/h) was observed at a house in Perrine. The cities of Florida City, Homestead, and Cutler Ridge received the brunt of the storm. As many as 1.4 million people lost power at the height of the storm. In the Everglades, 70,000 acres (280 km2) of trees were downed, while invasive Burmese pythons began inhabiting the region after a nearby facility housing them was destroyed. Rainfall in Florida was substantial, peaking at 13.98 inches (355 mm) in western Dade County. In Florida, Andrew killed 44 and left a record $25 billion in damage.
Prior to making landfall in Louisiana on August 26, Andrew caused extensive damage to oil platforms in the Gulf of Mexico, leading to $500 million in losses for oil companies. It produced hurricane-force winds along its path through Louisiana, damaging large stretches of power lines that left about 230,000 people without electricity. Over 80% of trees in the Atchafalaya River basin were downed, and the agriculture there was devastated. Throughout the basin and Bayou Lafourche, 187 million freshwater fish were killed in the hurricane. With 23,000 houses damaged, 985 others destroyed, and 1,951 mobile homes demolished, property losses in Louisiana exceeded $1.5 billion. The hurricane caused the deaths of 17 people in the state, 6 of whom drowned offshore. Andrew spawned at least 28 tornadoes along the Gulf Coast, especially in Alabama, Georgia, and Mississippi. In total, Andrew left 65 dead and caused $27.3 billion in damage. It is currently the seventh-costliest Atlantic hurricane to hit the United States, behind only Katrina (2005), Ike (2008), Sandy (2012), Harvey (2017), Irma (2017), and Maria (2017), as well as the eighth-costliest Atlantic hurricane, behind the aforementioned systems and Wilma (2005). It is the third-strongest hurricane to hit the U.S. mainland by wind speed (165 mph).