Hurricane Andrew was the third most intense storm to hit the United States this century, behind Camille in 1969 and the 1935 Labor Day hurricane that killed 600 people, the National Hurricane Center said.
The center, in its first official report on the disaster, said Thursday that Andrew's top sustained winds were 145 mph and gusts reached 175 mph. It found no evidence of tornadoes.Andrew, therefore, remains a Category 4 hurricane in the official books, 10 mph below the Category 5 status shared by the worst storms. Sustained winds of Category 5 storms begin at 155 mph.
"I have looked at damage from every major hurricane since 1965," said hurricane center director Bob Sheets. "I've never seen anything like this. It was like a 25- to 30-mile-wide tornado."