MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Hurricane Michael, which devastated the Florida Panhandle six months ago, is now considered a Category 5 storm by the National Hurricane Center.
Friday, the NOAA’s National Hurricane Center released a detailed post-storm analysis on all of the data and determined the storm’s intensity at landfall was 160 mph, which is 5 mph stronger then original reported.
Now Michael falls into Category 5 on the Saffer-Simpson Hurricane Wind scale at the time of landfall on Oct. 10, 2018 near Mexico Beach and Tyndall Air Force Base.
The upgraded status means Michael was 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 that hit the Florida Keys in 1935 and Hurricane Camille, which struck the Mississippi coast 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.
The National Hurricane Center report says 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.
Michael produced devastating winds and storm surge and was directly responsible for 16 deaths and about $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.
Parts of the Florida Panhandle are still recovering from the destruction.