83rd Annual

Thursday, 13 February 2003
The Re-analysis of Hurricane Andrew (1992)
Chris W. Landsea, NOAA/AOML/HRD, Miami, FL
Studies by two independent groups - Franklin et al. (2002) and Dunion et al. (2002)/Dunion and Powell (2002) - provide strong evidence that the methodology used to estimate the maximum sustained surface wind in Hurricane Andrew (Rappaport 1994; Mayfield et al. 1994; Powell and Houston 1996) was too conservative. This new understanding of the wind structure in strong hurricanes is due to an advance in technology - the Global Positioning System (GPS) dropwindsonde - that allowed for the first time a detailed look at the wind profile in a hurricane’s eyewall from flight level to the ocean’s surface. These unique new observations, first collected in Hurricane Guillermo in 1997, suggest that all hurricanes including Hurricane Andrew should be re-examined for their intensity when the primary method for estimating surface winds were from flight-level winds extrapolated to the surface.

This presentation proposes a set of revisions to the intensity portion of the “best track” for 1992's Hurricane Andrew, which is currently classified as a Saffir-Simpson Category 4 hurricane at its landfalls at Eleuthera Island, Bahamas and in South Florida, USA. The revisions would make Andrew a Category 5 hurricane at both landfalls, with a Florida landfall intensity of 145 kt. The peak intensity of Andrew is assessed to be 150 kt at 1800 UTC 23 August.

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