MIAMI – Florida began requiring sturdier construction after a catastrophic Hurricane Andrew revealed how lax building codes had become in the country's most storm-prone state.
Now, experts say a monstrously strong Hurricane Irma could become the most serious test of Florida's storm-worthiness since the 1992 disaster.
Andrew razed Miami's suburbs with winds topping 165 mph (265 kph). The acres of flattened homes showed how contractors had been cutting corners.
Florida now has the most stringent building codes in the U.S. The Miami area has the strictest standards, requiring buildings to withstand Category 4 and Category 5 hurricane winds.
But experts worry even structures built to code won't withstand Irma. The hurricane had 175 mph (281 kph) winds Thursday.
Allen Douglas of the Florida Engineering Society said Irma is "a storm beyond comprehension."