Hurricane Michael upgraded to a Category 5 at time of landfall in Florida

Winds hit 160 mph as the storm hit the coast

Hurricane Michael upgraded to a Category 5 at time of landfall in Florida
Hurricane Michael making landfall (Source: NOAA)

(Gray News) – Six months after Hurricane Michael devastated parts of the Florida panhandle, National Hurricane Center scientists have upgraded it to a Category 5 storm.

The change came following a detailed analysis that determined Michael roared ashore on October 10, near Mexico Beach and Tyndall Air Force Base with 160 mph winds, putting it at the top of the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale.

Michael is the first hurricane to make landfall in the United States as a category 5 since Hurricane Andrew in 1992, and only the fourth on record. The others are the Labor Day Hurricane in 1935 and Hurricane Camille in 1969. Michael is also the strongest hurricane landfall on record in the Florida Panhandle and only the second known category 5 landfall on the northern Gulf coast.
National Hurricane Center

Forecasters orginally pegged Michael’s top sustained winds at landfall at 155 mph, just short of the Category 5 threshold.

“Category 5 winds were likely experienced over a very small area at and near the coast, and the change in estimated wind speeds is of little practical significance in terms of the impacts associated with the storm,” the National Hurricane Center said.

“Michael produced devastating winds and storm surge and was directly responsible for 16 deaths and about $25 billion in damage in the United States.”

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