The Biscayne Times

Jul 18th
Before Andrew, There Was Hurricane King PDF Print E-mail
Written by Paul S. George, Special to the BT   
September 2017

A view of our past from the archives of HistoryMiami, Miami News

TPix_PictureStory_9-17is hurricane season marks the 25th anniversary of Hurricane Andrew, the “Hurricane of Our Nightmares,” as the Miami Herald characterized the Category 5 storm, with sustained winds of 165 miles per hour and gusts over 200 miles per hour. Along with the hurricane of 1926, Andrew is considered the most destructive storm to have struck southeast Florida.

Other hurricanes have brought great damage to the area; some, like the storm of October 11-12, 1947, left an enduring legacy. That hurricane was the 11th storm of an exceptionally active season. It was also the first to carry a name, since it was known officially as “King.” King was the first hurricane to be seeded; an airplane dispersed chemical compounds within the storm in an attempt to weaken it.

King’s winds weren’t exceptionally powerful; the damage came from rain. A U.S. Geological Gauge indicated that 1.32 inches of rain fell in Hialeah in just ten minutes; 3.62 inches in one hour; and 6 inches in 75 minutes.

Water in parts of Hialeah was more than six feet deep. That city’s downtown sector was underwater for weeks (so was Fort Lauderdale’s). Miami Springs and Opa-locka experienced similar flooding. U.S. 1 was underwater from Miami to Fort Lauderdale. The Miami River overflowed its banks near the NW 12th Avenue bridge, as did the nearby Seybold Canal and the Little River in northeast Miami.

Future U.S. Congressman Dante Fascell recalled the hurricane’s wet aftermath: “I got in a boat at Flagler Street and 12th Avenue [seen in the attached photograph] by the big Firestone Station that was there. We rode in that motorboat all the way out Flagler Street, crossed over and went into Hialeah. We met with [future] U. S. Senator Bob Graham’s father [Ernest Graham] who had a dairy out there. We’re standing in the middle of Hialeah in hip-waders. We talked about this flood…and agreed that something had to be done to prevent or mitigate this massive disaster should it strike again. So a plan was put in motion.”

That plan led to the construction of long levees to protect the region and, ultimately, to the creation of the South Florida Water Management District, which manages water resources in a 16-county area stretching from Orlando to the Keys.


Paul George is historian at HistoryMiami Museum. To order a copy of this photo, please contact HistoryMiami archives manager Dawn Hugh at 305-375-1623, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .


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Pix_PictureStory_7-18A view of our past from the archives of HistoryMiami