Before becoming Director of the National Hurricane Center, Bill Read served as Meteorologist in Charge of the Houston/Galveston NWS Forecast Office. Bill recounts the approach of Andrew and the weather phenomenon that brought great weather to Houston for the 1992 Republican National Convention but steered Andrew directly to South Florida.
The month of August 1992 was keeping me quite busy as Meteorologist in Charge of the Houston/Galveston NWS Forecast Office. We had just finished installing the first WSR-88D radar on the Gulf Coast (fifth in the nation) and were ramping up staffing at the office to execute the modernization of weather services. Several staff were away in Norman, OK for training on the new radar. The Republican National Convention was held in Houston from August 17 to August 20.
During planning meetings prior to the event the big sweat was the potential for a hurricane making landfall during the convention on the upper Texas Coast, and the potential for extreme rainfall and flooding that accompany tropical events in Houston. As it happened, an unusually strong cold front for August went through Texas and Houston resulting in record low temperatures and amazingly low humidity during the week of the Convention. This same frontal system was to play a role in steering Andrew. The system moved off the eastern seaboard with a strong high pressure in its wake. This high pressure effectively blocked Andrew’s northwestward movement and turned it west towards the Bahamas and Florida.
Tomorrow, Bryan Norcross returns to continue his Andrew story and gives us a behind the scenes look at the news station on the last night he and his colleagues would get any rest before Andrew struck…