PHOENIX - Floridians are getting ready to experience what could become the biggest hurricane to storm through the state in years.
But before Irma, another behemoth storm threaten the sunshine state. It was Hurricane Andrew, which struck Florida more than 20 years ago.
Fox 10’s Stefania Okolie caught up with one ASU professor who lived through Hurricane Andrew and helped uncover how the city was so devastated.
So as Hurricane Irma inches closer to making landfall in south Florida, many wonder how much damage it will do.
We're talking a storm that has been compared to Hurricane Andrew, which left almost 90 thousand homes with no roof in Miami.
It's a hurricane every Miami native remembers.. I know I do... But ASU Professor Steven Doig has a special memory of the hurricane and its aftermath.
Hurricane Irma is bigger than the most powerful storm to ever hit South Florida...Hurricane Andrew, something Floridians have been reminded of over and over as they prepare for Irma to make landfall.
Steve Doig was a Miami Herald reporter when Andrew hit.
Now he’s an ASU professor and he says he recalls vividly the moments Andrew came ashore.
"Said ooo we better watch out... I took my family. We went into an interior bathroom. Sat there with my wife and kids and also a couple of friends who had lived in a big condo waterfront.. they came down to my house in theory to be safer."
Hurricane Andrew raged on for more of the night.
"It was a long night ..of listening to the roof peeling away, hearing the windows crash in, listening to the wind blow against the wall of the bathroom. Finally at one point, as dawn got near and winds were at the worst, water started coming into the bathroom we were in."
Walking out of the aftermath was like a whole new world, and not a good one.
“You couldn’t even recognize our neighborhood. No trees had leaves on them anymore. There was, it looked like pink cotton candy all over the lawns. It was insulation of attic roofs that had been torn out.
Steve remembers with great pride he and his colleagues coverage of Andrew’s aftermath, not only the telling of the stories of communities rebuilding, but why they had to. How there were 80,000 thousand homes torn apart.
"We looked at building inspection records and campaign finance contributions."
"The newer the home, the more likely to be destroyed.. was the lesson we found in the data."