The population of south Florida has grown considerably since the last Category 5 storm to hit the region, Hurricane Andrew, ravaged the coastal state in 1992.
Thousands of new homes came with that growth, and they now sit in Hurricane Irma’s path.
While Andrew led to a host of new building codes designed to make houses more resistant to dangerous storms, the sheer number of homes threatened by Irma means the volume of structures at risk – not to mention people, if they cannot leave – has grown substantially.
Last year, the three-county area that stretches from Miami to Palm Beach topped 6 million people for the first time, census data shows, growing by nearly half a million people since 2010.
Here’s a time-lapse of the Miami area culled from satellite imagery that reveals the growth since 1992:
Miami-Dade County is the most populated county in Florida, home to nearly 3 million people, and it has added hundreds of thousands of people since Andrew; former swampland and open fields have been paved over for new neighborhoods and subdivisions.
The nearby areas have also seen their share of sprawl.
The population in Broward County, home to Fort Lauderdale, grew by nearly 9% from 2010 to 2016, according to census figures, and about 1.9 million people now live there. To its north, Palm Beach County also grew at a quick clip in recent years, and 2016 census data estimates more than 1.4 million people call it home.