When I moved to Huntsville and took my job at WZDX, I never thought I would go through a Category 5 hurricane within my first year back in the south. Michael struck the Florida Panhandle on the morning of October 10, 2018, at what was then thought to be a very strong category four storm.
A new report released on April 19, 2019, says the hurricane has been officially upgraded to a Category 5 storm.
“Michael was a category 5 hurricane (on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale) that made a catastrophic landfall near Mexico Beach and Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, producing devastating winds and storm surge near the coast, and rain and wind inland. It was directly responsible for 16 deaths and about $25 billion in damage in the United States.”
The report states, “…This track resulted in the eye making landfall near Tyndall Air Force Base (AFB) in
the Florida Panhandle, southeast of Panama City, near 1730 UTC that day. By that time, the maximum sustained winds had increased to an estimated 140 kt – category 5 on the SaffirSimpson Hurricane Wind Scale (SSHWS).”
Related: Hurricane Michael: My Experience
The report goes on. “Michael’s estimated intensity at landfall in Florida is 140 kt. While the real-time
operational estimate was 135 kt, the final best track intensity estimate was determined by a
detailed post-storm analysis review of the available aircraft winds, surface winds, surface
pressures, satellite intensity estimates, and Doppler radar velocities – including data and analyses
that were not available in real time.”
Micahel is now tied as the fourth strongest hurricane to ever hit the United States since 1900, and is only the second category five hurricane to ever hit the Northern Gulf Coast.