Thursday, 23 May, 2019

State lawmakers react to Hurricane Michael category change

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Patty Aguilar | 22 April, 2019, 03:02

It caused 16 deaths and $25 billion in damage in the U.S. Before arriving in Florida, the storm passed over western Cuba as a Category 2 hurricane.

Hurricane Michael, which barreled into the Florida Panhandle in October, was actually a Category 5 storm when it hit the coast, scientists at the National Hurricane Center said Friday.

The agency's analysis found that Michael had wind speeds of 160 miles per hour when it made landfall on October 10, 2018.

Obtaining a hurricane's maximum wind speeds by weather stations is almost impossible due to their sparse locations and are often damaged during such severe storms.

The Hurricane Center notes that Michael now ranks as the fourth-strongest hurricane on record to make landfall in the United States, trailing only the Labor Day Hurricane of 1935, Hurricane Camille in 1969, and Hurricane Andrew in 1992.

The Labor Day Hurricane in September 1935, which hit the Florida Keys and particularly wreaked havoc on Islamorada, was the first since records were kept to land in the U.S.as a Cat 5.

The storm was originally designated as a Category 4 hurricane.

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Before Andrew there was Hurricane Camille in 1969, which made landfall at Pass Christian, Mississippi, on August 18, 1969, three days after hitting Cuba as a Category 2.

In addition to wind speeds, the NHC also studied air pressure, satellite images, Doppler radar velocity and surface winds.

"Category 5 winds were likely experienced over a very small area at and near the coast", the Hurricane Center said in its statement announcing the change. The once-sleepy town of Mexico Beach, almost leveled after Michael passed over it, became the de facto symbol of the storm's destruction.

The four hurricanes that made landfall in the U.S.at Category 5 intensity.

It also becomes the third hurricane to strike Florida as a Category 5, and its October landfall made it the latest a storm this strong has ever struck United States shores.

Michael destroyed the small northwestern town of Mexico Beach, which is just south of Panama City Beach and the Florida panhandle.

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