Hurricane Michael upgraded to a Category 5 upon post-storm analysis

Saul Bowman
April 23, 2019

Camille in 1969 along the Mississippi Gulf Coast and the Florida Keys Labor Day Hurricane in 1935 were the only other U.S. Category 5 landfalls on record.

Hurricane Michael ripped into the community of Mexico Beach, Florida, last October.

It's worth noting that while the storm has now been officially categorized as a category 5 hurricane, that only indicates that some of the winds produced by the storm were moving that fast. That puts Michael just barely over the 157 miles per hour (252 kph) threshold for a category 5 hurricane.

The remote city along what's referred to as Florida's Forgotten Coast is struggling to rebuild.

And the numbers tell the story in Mexico Beach, where Cathey said there were about 1,200 residents and 2,700 housing units before Hurricane Michael hit.

Senator George Gainer, (R) Panama City, says we should remember one thing, "This is an opportunity we don't need to pass on, we need to make sure that we take advantage of every little door that gets open and this is a big one".

The storm was originally designated as a Category 4 hurricane.


Michael became only the fourth Category 5 USA hurricane landfall on record, and the first since Hurricane Andrew in 1992, which was also upgraded to Category 5 status well after it slammed South Florida.

Hurricane Michael was upgraded to a Category 5 hurricane, over six months after it made landfall in the Florida Panhandle, according to a report released from the National Hurricane Center on Friday.

The real-time operational intensity estimate was 135 knots (155 mph).

The storm was responsible for 16 deaths and about $25 billion in damage in the United States.

In Mexico Beach, 1,584 of the town's 1,692 buildings were reported damaged; more than 800 were destroyed.

The post-storm analysis was done by compiling data from aircraft measurments, surface winds and pressure, as well as satellite and Doppler radar estimates. "But we are working diligently at getting ourselves cleaned up and being proactive and helping people get their feet back under them". The Labor Day Hurricane of 1935 had a central pressure of 892 millibars while Hurricane Camile had a central pressure of 900 millibars.

Along with wind speed, atmospheric pressure is a measure of storm intensity.

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