It was 11:00 PM Eastern Time on Sunday, August 16, 1992, 30 years ago this evening, that National Hurricane Center forecaster Max Mayfield wrote the first advisory on new Tropical Depression THREE. The disturbance that moved off Africa two days before had finally shown signs of enough organization during the day to warrant its upgrade to a depression. Top winds were estimated at 35 mph.
The system was forecast to reach tropical-storm strength the next day, but only slowly intensify. Hostile upper-level winds were expected to impact the system for the next three days – as far into the future as forecasts were made at that time.
In the non-public Technical Discussion that was issued with the Public Advisory, Mayfield noted that the system could intensify more rapidly if the upper-level winds were weaker than forecast. That eventually happened, but not until much later in the week.
In South Florida, we weren't worried. In fact, we barely noticed the system at all. As it turned out, Category 5 Hurricane Andrew would make landfall 7 days and 6 hours later just east of Homestead, a little less than 20 miles south of downtown Miami.
Three decades ago renowned hurricane specialist Bryan Norcross did a 23 hour marathon broadcast as Hurricane Andrew slammed into the Florida coast. His broadcast was the only one to stay on the air and many people’s only link to the outside world during the worst of the storm. He is credited with savings countless lives due to his life-saving advice. Now 30 years later Bryan will re-live the storm that devastated South Florida and look at the infrastructure changes that resulted. Watch The Wrath of Hurricane Andrew: Tragedy and Triumph on FOX Weather, premiering August 23rd and 24th at 10 P.M. EDT.