MICHAEL UPGRADED TO A CAT 5, PLUS AN EASTER TO REMEMBER...
Some big news from NOAA Friday on hurricane Michael which destroyed Mexico Beach, Florida last October. A detailed analysis showed the storm having sustained winds of 160 mph at landfall making it a category 5 storm on the Saffir-Simpson scale. It's the first CAT 5 to strike the U.S. mainland since Andrew in 1992, and only the 4th on record. The other two are Camille in 1969 and the Labor Days storm of 1935.
The original real-time operational intensity estimate was 135 knots (155 mph). The final best track intensity estimate of 140 knots (160 mph) was determined by a 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. The 5 knot (5 mph) increase in the estimated maximum sustained wind speed from the operational estimate is small and well within the normal range of uncertainty.
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.