The 1990’s were a time of innovation and social movement. Technologies like the Photoshop, text messaging and Google were all invented in the 90s. It was also a decade of powerful hurricanes that changed the way we live and prepare for these destructive storms. We rounded up 5 notable storms that you may remember!
1. Hurricane Andrew – 1992
Flashback to the year 1992, Bill Clinton was president of the United States, L.A had just seen the worst riots in its history and South Florida is preparing for impact from a massive category five hurricane named Andrew. After spending a week in the eastern Atlantic ocean as a tropical depression, the NHC didn’t project much strengthening but as the storm moved westward towards the Bahamas, it began to rapidly intensify, eventually becoming a massive category 5 hurricane. Over 1.2 million Floridans evacuated the area within the storms projected path. Some decided to board up their homes and ride out the storm, which proved to be an unwise decision for many. On August 24, Andrew made landfall on Elliott Key and then Homestead, bringing peak winds of 177mph, ripping homes completely from their concrete foundations. Overall, Andrew destroyed more than 63,500 houses, damaged more than 124,000 others, caused $27.3 billion in damage and left 65 people dead.
2. Hurricane Opal – 1995
Opal formed when a tropical wave and lower pressure area combined off the Yucatan Peninsula. On September 27th, it was officially named a tropical depression as it began to its journey into the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico were it quickly intensified. By October 4th the storm was a strong category four with winds reaching 150mph. An estimated 100,000 people evacuated the Gulf coast in the United States ahead of Opal, five percent of which stayed in public shelters. Just before landfall the storm weakened to a category 3 sparing the coastline catastrophic winds, however the storm surge caused severe flooding along the gulf coast, causing $4.7 billion in damages.
3. Hurricane Bertha – 1996
Bertha was the first major hurricane of the ‘96 season which formed off the coast of Africa. At its peak intensity winds reached 115mph. Rip currents accounted for several deaths in Florida and a military plane crashed into a house when trying to evacuate the storm. Bertha made landfall between Wrightsville Beach and Topsail Beach, North Carolina with winds of 90 mph.
4. Hurricane Fran – 1996
On August 23rd, a tropical wave formed near Cape Verde. Due to nearby Hurricane Edouard, the storm stayed disorganized as it moved westward. By August 26, the NHC decided to issue its final advisory on the storm. The following day, satellites depicted improved circulation, leading to the re-issuance of advisories. Fran fluctuated in intensity several more times before making landfall near Cape Fear, North Carolina as a category 3 storm. Once over land, it quickly degraded to a tropical storm within 12 hours. The coastline saw major flooding and many beach houses were washed away.
Hurricane Floyd triggered the 4th largest evacuation in U.S history (behind Hurricane Irma, Gustav and Rita) sending 2.6 million coastal residents throughout 5 states in search of safer grounds. Initially the storm was projected to hit Florida but turned away, instead hitting the Bahamas at peak intensity, causing major damage. It then skirted the east coast, weakening to a category 2 before making landfall near the Cape Fear area. The storm brought more rainfall to the already drenched region from Hurricane Dennis just weeks earlier. Nearly every river in the eastern region exceed 500-year flood levels. Floyd accounted for $6.5 billion in damage and the World Meteorological Organization decided to retire the name.