CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - When Hurricane Michael made landfall in Florida last October, it did so at Category 5 strength, stronger than initially thought, post-storm analysis from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shows.
Post-storm analysis estimated the storm’s maximum sustained winds to have been at 160 mph, making it within the strongest category of hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale, according to N spokesman Dennis Feltgen.
It was the first hurricane to make landfall in the United States as a Category 5 storm since Hurricane Andrew in 1992 and only the fourth on record.
The storm made landfall near Mexico Beach and Tryndall Air Force Base in Florida on Oct. 10, 2018. The best data available at the time estimated the storm to be a strong Category 4.
The following day, wind gusts from Michael, which had then been downgraded to a tropical storm, caused trees to fall and power outages throughout the Lowcountry.
Michael produced devastating winds and storm surge and was directly responsible for 16 deaths and approximately $25 billion in damage in the United States. Before hitting the United States, the cyclone brought hurricane-force winds to the western tip of Cuba when it was a category 2 Hurricane.
After the 2018 hurricane season, the name Michael was removed from the six-year cycle of hurricane names by the Hurricane Committee of the World Meteorological Organization.
A hurricane of Category 4 strength has maximum sustained winds of between 131 and 156 mph. Hurricanes with maximum sustained winds of 157 or greater are Category 5 strength. The other two known Category 5 storms to make landfall in the United States besides Michael and Andrew were Hurricane Camille in 1969 and the Labor Day Hurricane of 1935.