Irma may be more costly, but damage will fall short of Andrew

The specter of Hurricane Andrew haunted Florida last week. Though its winds — which lifted the roofs from tens of thousands of homes — had vanished 25 years ago, the storm remained the stuff of Floridian nightmares.

And yet, Hurricane Irma seemed destined to be worse.

It was among the most powerful hurricanes ever recorded in the Atlantic. Much broader than Andrew and taking aim at several major cities, its violence could touch far more people.

“Hurricane Andrew is one of the worst storms in the history of Florida,” Gov. Rick Scott said at a news conference as Irma approached. “This is much worse and more devastating on its current path.”

But as Floridians took stock of the damage Monday, it appeared that although Irma affected a far broader swath of the state, it was not the terror that Andrew had been.

“Irma and Andrew were as different as two hurricanes can be,” said Bryan Norcross, senior hurricane meteorologist at the Weather Channel, who earned fame as the chief meteorologist at Miami’s NBC affiliate when Andrew struck. “The damage in Irma is significantly less intense, but it is vastly more widespread.”

It will take weeks to total up the damage, but at first blush, the Irma toll falls short of Andrew. Two deaths in Florida have been attributed to Irma: One person died in a car accident in Monroe County, and another person died falling off a ladder while attaching storm shutters, according to reports. The count might rise as rescue workers reach harder-hit areas.

By contrast, Hurricane Andrew was directly blamed for 15 deaths in Florida, a figure many thought was astonishing given the power of the storm.

“The direct loss of life seems remarkably low considering the destruction caused by this hurricane,” a National Hurricane Center report said after Andrew.

According to the National Hurricane Center, Andrew reportedly destroyed more than 25,000 homes and damaged 101,000 others. There are no such figures available for Irma, but experts say early assessments suggest that in Florida, the number of homes destroyed by Irma will be significantly lower.

In Andrew, the Category 5 winds stripped roofs off and flicked away roof trusses as if they were matchsticks. Two-by-fours became airborne and damaged other homes. In some mobile-home parks, no walls remained vertical, the winds leaving only junkyard heaps of sodden clothing, appliances and furniture.

“We don’t really have all the damage assessments from where Irma’s core hit, but from the pictures I’ve seen … the major structures are still standing,” said Max Mayfield, former director of the National Hurricane Center and now a hurricane specialist at WPLG-TV in Miami. With Irma, “there will be weaker structures and mobile homes and carports and trees down. Most houses are still standing. I’m thanking God that we didn’t have more.”

Irma’s winds weren’t strong enough to destroy many homes, unless they were in the path of falling trees or falling debris, Norcross said.

“Homes caught in the storm surge in the Keys were obviously destroyed, but the total numbers there are not like in a metropolitan area,” he said.

Still, when measured by the cost of insured damages, the far-ranging problems of Irma may prove more troublesome than even those in Andrew, which at the time was the costliest hurricane to make landfall in the United States.

Catastrophe modeling firm AIR Worldwide estimates that insurance companies will pay losses in the United States resulting from Hurricane Irma ranging from $20 billion to $40 billion.

By contrast, such losses in Andrew were estimated at $27 billion, adjusted for inflation.

Those figures seem to rank Irma and Andrew at similar levels. But they do not include flood losses on homes, and with those, Irma could prove to have a higher total.

Flood losses, which are typically covered by the federal flood insurance program, were minimal in Hurricane Andrew. Wind, not water, caused the vast majority of that storm’s wreckage. It is too early to tell how much such claims will amount to in Irma, which appears to have caused substantial flooding. About 41 percent of homes in the portions of South Florida at most risk of flooding have flood insurance policies, according to Syndeste, a risk management firm.

So why hasn’t Irma proven to be – so far – as catastrophic as Andrew?

Experts cite two reasons.

For one thing, Floridians learned from Andrew. The building codes got tougher throughout the state, especially in Miami-Dade and Broward counties, which reportedly have the toughest hurricane standards in the country. In addition, many Floridians invested in hurricane shutters, thanks in large part to the insurance companies that made it expensive for those who didn’t.

Perhaps even more important, Irma fell short of the forecasts. The monster that Irma was grew tamer before making its second Florida landfall on Marco Island. By that time, its sustained winds had dropped to 115 mph. While that may sound little different from the feared winds of 130 mph or more, a small decrease in wind speed means a larger decrease in the force the storm exerts.

ad-high_impact_4
News
Local man goes under cover searching for answers to homelessness
Licensed mental health therapist Sheldon Jacobs spent 48 hours under cover posing as a homeless man in an attempt to gain perspective on the complex issue.
Social Work UNLV Lecturer's Calling
Ivet Aldaba-Valera was the first person in her family to graduate from both high school and college. The 33-year-old UNLV lecturer is now pursuing her Ph. D in public policy at the school and has used her degree in social work to engage with the young Latino and Latina community of Las Vegas. (Madelyn Reese/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @MadelynGReese
The world's longest racetrack could be coming to Pahrump
Spring Mountain Motor Resort and Country Club in Pahrump might be the first racetrack in the world longer than 16 miles long once the expansion is complete. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Gold Point townsperson talks about why he choose to live in a ghost town
Gold Point townsperson Walt Kremin talks about the ghost town in Nevada he calls home. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Search for missing 3-year-old boy at Sunset Park
Las Vegas police and Red Rock Search and Rescue team search for a missing child at Sunset Park in southeast Las Vegas on Sunday, Sept.2, 2018. (Chitose Suzuki/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai speaks at Las Vegas tech conference
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai, who was shot by the Taliban on her way home from school in Pakistan after advocating for girls' education, spoke at VMworld 2018 at Mandalay Bay. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
MGM Resorts International CEO Jim Murren addresses Oct. 1 lawsuits
MGM Resorts International Chairman and CEO Jim Murren addresses criticism his company has received for filing a lawsuit against the survivors of the Oct. 1 shooting. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Father recalls the night his 14-year-old son died jumping into moving traffic
From the Clark County Detention Center, Ezequiel Anorve Serrano talks about the night his 14-year-old son, Silas Anorve, died jumping into moving traffic on U.S. 95. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Palace Station unveils new sports book
Palace Station talks about the new sports book Thursday, August 23, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
One of world's longest racetracks planned in Pahrump by 2020
The racetrack will be 16 miles long by the year 2020 according to Spring Mountain Motor Resort and Country Club owner John Morris. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Henderson police bodycam footage of officer-involved shooting
Henderson police released body-worn camera footage of an officer-involved shooting in a grocery store parking lot at 2667 Windmill Parkway on Aug. 12, 2018. (Henderson Police Department)
Robotics takes off at Las Vegas Academy
Las Vegas Academy’s robotics team made it all the way to the world competition last year, the first year the team competed. Zackary Perry describes how they programmed their robot to compete. The team is an example of what Tesla wants to have in every school in the state. (Meghin Delaney/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bicyclist suffers major head trauma in hit-and-run
A bicyclist was hospitalized with life-threatening injuries after a Thursday morning hit-and-run crash near the school formerly known as Agassi Prep. Police said the bicyclist was hit by a white SUV, which fled the scene. The injured man suffered multiple injuries including major head trauma. As of 9 a.m., Lake Mead remained closed between Martin Luther King and Revere Street while police investigate.
Las Vegas artist Dave Dave dies at 42
Dave Dave talks about his art and his life in 2016. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Dave Dave, whose dad set him on fire in 1983, dies
Dave Dave, a respected Las Vegas artist who was badly scarred as a boy when his father tried to burn him to death in Southern California, died at Sunrise Hospital on July 15. He was 42. When he was 6, Dave's father tried to kill him by setting him on fire. He was given a sleeping pill and his bed at a Buena Park, California, motel was doused with kerosene. “I remembered being in a lot of pain,” Dave told the Review-Journal in 2016. “When stuff happens to you at that young of an age, you tend to block it out, but I remember the pain was excruciating.” Dave, who was born David Rothenberg, became close friends with Michael Jackson, who met him after the attack, which burned more than 90 percent of his body. “I wanted to meet him, and he wanted to meet me, and that just turned into a lifelong relationship that never ended,” Dave said. “It was amazing being friends with Michael Jackson. He was an amazing person.” Dave attended ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena, California, and collaborated with various artists around Las Vegas, eventually selling his art to private collectors. Despite his challenges, he continued to live, thrive and create. Dave Dave
Homicide detectives investigate woman's death
Las Vegas police were called to Tahiti Village Resort early Wednesday after calls that someone had been shot. Police found a woman’s body between a parking garage and boiler room on the resort's property. A guest first reported hearing gunfire. There are no witnesses, but police will examine surveillance videos and look for clues. The woman was not identified, but a purse was found near the body. She did not appear to be a guest at the resort.
LVMPD Discusses Ross Dress for Less Shooting
LVMPD Assistant Sheriff Charles Hank discussed the 15th officer-involved shooting of the year at a press conference at Metro headquarters on Tuesday, Aug. 14. The active-shooter incident took place at the Ross Dress for Less store at the 4000 block Blue Diamond Road in the south Las Vegas Valley. (Madelyn Reese/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Metro Asst. Sheriff Brett Zimmerman on Aug. 8 officer-involved shooting
Metropolitan Police Department Assistant Sheriff Brett Zimmerman met with media Monday to discuss the details of the 14th officer-involved shooting of the year. (Madelyn Reese/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Clark County School Board president Deanna Wright on travel expenses
Clark County School Board President Deanna Wright says she followed proper expense protocol in trip to Florida last year.
Matt Kelly Elementary School hosted its third annual Back-to-School Red Carpet Program
Matt Kelly Elementary School hosted its third annual Back-to-School Red Carpet Program where community and business leaders joined to welcome students back with an inspirational welcome. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Shooting leaves 1 dead in southeast valley
A man was found fatally shot in the doorway of a squatter apartment after an argument ended in gunfire on Sunday night. Officers responded about 10:30 p.m. to the Silver Pines apartments and discovered the man in a breezeway in one of the buildings. The wounded man died at the scene, despite the efforts of another person, who tried to administer medical aid. Witnesses saw a man and a woman flee the scene, but were unable to give police a clear description.
North Las Vegas unveils new school crosswalk
North Las Vegas councilman Isaac Barron talks about the new school crosswalk in front of CP Squires Elementary School Monday, August 6, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
LVMPD Briefing on OIS #13
Assistant Sheriff Tim Kelly held a press conference to discuss details of the 13th officer-involved-shoot for the department in 2018. Video shows the moments before the suspect was shot. The shooting, which has been edited out, occurred as the suspect lunged at an officer outside the apartment. (Madelyn Reese/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Sedan and semitrailer collide in south Las Vegas
An early Wednesday morning crash has left one person in critical condition. A sedan and semitrailer collided around 4 a.m. at the corner of Spencer Street and Serene Avenue. Police do not believe impairment is a factor in the crash. Spencer has been blocked off north of Serene while police continue their investigation.
Cybersecurity Professionals Flock to Las Vegas for Black Hat
Black Hat USA, the largest annual cybersecurity conference, is expecting a record 17,000 attendees during its six-day run at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center this week. One thing attendees have in mind is making sure they don't get hacked while they're there. (Madelyn Reese/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Police chase ends with suspects captured in east Las Vegas
An early Tuesday morning chase ended with a car crash in an east Las Vegas neighborhood. Police were pursuing the vehicle, which they say was involved in robberies in Las Vegas and North Las Vegas, when the driver crashed at Owens and Statz Street. A man was taken into custody. A woman was ejected from a vehicle and taken to a hospital with non-life threatening injuries. The intersection at Mojave Road and Owens Avenue was shut down while police officers searched for the suspect and investigated. The intersection will remain closed for most of the morning.
Record number participate in Touro University Nevada White Coat Ceremony
Three hundred sixty-five medical students received their white coats during the Touro University Nevada White Coat Ceremony at the M Resort in Henderson Monday. The ceremony was developed to honor students in osteopathic medicine, physician assistant studies, nursing, occupational therapy and physical therapy as they accept the professional responsibilities inherent in their relationship with patients. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Stop for school buses, urges CCSD
Clark County School District Police Department hold a mock traffic stop at Centennial High School in Las Vegas, Monday, Aug. 6, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Work Begins at Las Vegas Community Healing Garden
Crews moved the wooden Remembrance Wall at the Las Vegas Community Healing Garden on South Casino Center Boulevard Monday. Construction on a permanent wall is set to begin within the week. (Madelyn Reese/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @MadelynGReese
Man wounded outside Cottages apartment
Las Vegas police don't have a motive after a man was shot early Monday morning outside a northwest valley apartment. The man's mother called police to say her son had been shot. She called police around 1:15 a.m. Other people were inside the apartment but no one else was injured. Police are still looking for the shooter.
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like