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Tropical Storm Andrew was a small, moderate tropical storm that formed in early June 1986. The first named storm of the 1986 Atlantic hurricane season, Andrew developed from a large, northward bound area of disturbed weather. Although it reached its peak intensity as a tropical storm, the initial depression was subtropical. After being named, Andrew briefly threatened the Carolinas before recurving out to sea at a forward speed of Template:Convert/mi/h, being absorbed by an area of low pressure over east Canada.

Despite moving in close proximity to Cape Hatteras, no reports of storm conditions were received, largely due to the highest concentration of activity being on the east side of the storm. The storm was responsible for one death due to undertow while active. However, the area of disturbed weather that ultimately developed into Andrew was responsible for landslides and flooding that claimed 49 lives in Jamaica. With a total of 50 deaths, both direct and indirect, Andrew was the deadliest storm of the season. Despite the death toll, there is no known damage total from the storm.

Meteorological history

In early June, a large area of disturbed weather persisted over the Greater Antilles, bringing heavy rains to the islands. The area moved northward, developing a circulation over the Bahamas. Strong upper-level winds caused when satellite imagery showed a circulation developing over the Bahamas. Strong upper-level winds caused the structure to resemble a subtropical cyclone, and as a result, the system was classified as a subtropical depression on June 5.[1][2] The depression moved to the northwest and transitioned into a tropical storm on June 6; it was named Andrew about 258 mi (Template:Convert/km) southeast of Charleston, South Carolina.[1] The tropical storm approached the South Carolina coast within 115 mi (Template:Convert/km) before recurving to the northeast on June 7. The storm passed within 70 mi (Template:Convert/km) of Cape Hatteras while recurving, while near its peak intensity of Template:Convert/mi/h. The storm accelerated to the northeast, briefly crossing into the forecasting territory of Environment Canada, the first of three storms of the season to do so,[3] before ultimately being absorbed by a low pressure system over Canada on June 8.[1]

Preparations and impact

While active, Andrew posed a threat to the Carolinas. Gale warnings were posted from an area ranging from Cape Lookout to south of Virginia Beach, Virginia on June 7.[4] The main threat expected from the tropical storm was strong waves,[5] which reached heights of Template:Convert/LoffAoffDbSon off the coast of the Carolinas.[6][7] The storm also caused undertow, which killed a person on Ocracoke Island. Three companions were also swept out, all of whom made it back to shore. At Wrightsville Beach and Carolina Beach, at least 40 swimmers were caught in the currents, four of whom were hospitalized.[8] Despite gale warnings being in place, no reports of sustained winds of that strength were reported due to strongest winds being located on the east side of the circulation.[1]

While the storm did not affect Jamaica while active, the precursor disturbance to Andrew brought heavy rains to the island, causing landslides and flooding. A total of 49 people were reported to have been killed by the disturbance, and more were driven from their homes by the flooding. A total of one thousand people had to be evacuated from the storm.[9] Heavy rains also caused the disruption of many water supplies across the island. The damaged water supplies also caused contamination in Westmoreland, Clarendon, and locations in St. Catherine. The hardest hit area for pollution was St. Mary, which had cases of typhoid due to contaminated water. Lightning was responsible for causing problems for power supplies and power lines and poles were reported destroyed. Some utility stations around the island were either flooded, broken, and in one case, damaged by lightning. Other utilities, including transport, sewage, and communications were also affected, but to less of an extent.[10]

With a total of 50 deaths caused by the cyclone, Andrew was the deadliest named storm of the season.[8][9] This was the first time that a North Atlantic hurricane was named Andrew, following the retirement of Allen.[11]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Miles Lawrence (1986). "Preliminary Report: Tropical Storm Andrew Page 1". National Hurricane Center. Retrieved 2008-08-02. 
  2. Miles Lawrence (1986). "Preliminary Report: Tropical Storm Andrew Page 2". National Hurricane Center. Retrieved 2008-08-02. 
  3. Environment Canada (2003). "Storms of 1986". Retrieved 2008-08-12. 
  4. Miles Lawrence (1987). "Atlantic Hurricane Season of 1986". National Hurricane Center. Retrieved 2008-08-12.  Template:Dead link
  5. Associated Press (5 June 1986). "Storm lashes Carolinas". Kentucky New Era. Retrieved 2011-02-12. 
  6. Associated Press (1986). "Year's First Storm Just A Lot Of Wind". Aiken Standard. Retrieved 2008-08-12. 
  7. Associated Press (1986). "Tropical Storm Falters Off The Carolinas". The Sunday Intelligencer. Retrieved 2008-08-12. 
  8. 8.0 8.1 Associated Press (1986). "Andrew Claims 1 Life". Galveston Daily News. Retrieved 2008-08-12. 
  9. 9.0 9.1 Associated Press (1986). "Danielle Downgraded to Tropical Wave". Ukiah Daily Journal. Retrieved 2008-08-12. 
  10. Associated Press (1986). "Flood Rains Disrupt Water Supplies Islandwide". The Gleaner. Retrieved 2008-08-12. 
  11. National Hurricane Center (2008). "Atlantic Best Track Data 1851-2007". Archived from the original on 2008-06-05. Retrieved 2008-08-12.