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How did Hurricane Ian compare to Hurricane Andrew?

How did Hurricane Ian compare to Hurricane Andrew?
How did Hurricane Ian compare to Hurricane Andrew? 02:33

MIAMI - For South Florida, the hurricane touchstone is 1992's Hurricane Andrew.

It was unique among hurricanes according to Dennis Smith who has studied hurricanes and hurricane impacts for 30 years and is now the planner-in-residence at Florida State University's Department of Urban and Regional Planning. 

Smith told CBS4's Hank Tester, "The extent of the storm was much smaller than your typical hurricane. Andrew came ashore like a super tornado." 

Andrew, a Category 5 storm, blew right through South Miami-Dade in a matter of hours with lots of wind not so much rain.

Speaking of Hurricane Andrew, Erik Salna, the Associate Director for Education and Outreach for FIU's International Hurricane Research Center, said "Andrew came in perpendicular to our coastline and it was moving quickly and once it moved west of Homestead, there was the Everglades and that was about it." 

There was horrific damage but Hurricane Andrew was a surgical narrow slash across South Florida. 

"Now, you look at Hurricane Ian that came in at a different angle and a much larger storm and moving slowly," Salna added. 

Coming in at almost a Category 5, Hurricane Ian sometimes was as slow as 8-10 miles per hour and almost burrowed through the state from southwest to northeast, with brutal wind and massive amounts of rain. 

"Hurricane Ian is five times the size in terms of its extent compared to Hurricane Andrew," said Smith. 

Hurricane-force winds for Andrew - a very tight cyclone - had a diameter of  50 miles compared to the much larger 240-mile diameter of Ian. 

The tropical storm force winds for Andrew may have extended as wide as 180 miles, but that pales in comparison to the massive 500-mile storm that was Ian.  

"Andrew did not drop as much rain because it was moving much faster. Ian was different, a tremendous amount of rainfall," said Salna.

That in a nutshell is the difference: Andrew was a wind event. Ian was both wind and rain which produced flooding from one end of the state to the other.

Andrew and Ian did share a major common trait both made landfall in South Florida and both went on to come ashore again, Andrew in Louisiana and Ian along the South Atlantic Coast.

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