The Washington Economics Group

Andrew 30 Years Later: A More Resilient South Florida

By David Lyons and Chris Perkins

August 21, 2022

The 30th anniversary of Hurricane Andrew’s assault on South Florida is days away, and for the uninitiated and those who may have forgotten, here is what the Category 5 storm did to southern Miami-Dade County and elsewhere. Interviews this week with businessmen, economists, forecasters and other experts show substantial improvements over the last three decades. Many agree that another storm of Andrew’s magnitude is likely to be mitigated by preventive measures taken over the years, though South Florida’s growing status as a preferred place for out-of-staters to relocate has raised uncertainties about the extent of damages another massive storm could cause.

South Florida’s economy is in better shape now than 30 years ago to withstand the financial impact of severe storms, economists say. J. Antonio Villamil is the founder and principal adviser at Washington Economics Group, a consultancy in Coral Gables, and a former undersecretary of commerce In the 1990s during the administration of President George H.W. Bush. “We’re a different economy altogether,” he said. “We have much more international business and high technology startups. We don’t rely as much as we did before on cyclical construction and tourism as in the past. Given the size of the population and entrepreneurial nature of the startups, it’s quite different than during Andrew.” Read complete article

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