Last week, the National Hurricane Center released the official Tropical Cyclone Report for Hurricane Michael.
The report adjusts the landfall intensity of Michael up to 160 mph (a 5 mph increase), making Hurricane Michael a Category 5 Hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale.
It is important to note that the Category 5 winds were likely experienced over only a very small area at and near the coast near the landfall location, and the change in estimated wind speeds is of little practical significance in terms of the impacts associated with the storm.
The final intensity estimate 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 mph (5 knot) increase in estimated maximum wind speed from the operational estimate is small, well within the normal uncertainty.
Hurricane Michael is the fourth Category 5 Hurricane to strike the mainland United States.
By central pressure, Michael remains the third most intense mainland U.S. landfalling hurricane
Florida Keys Labor Day Hurricane (1935) - 892 mb (26.35”)
Camille (1969) - 909 mb (26.84”)
Michael (2018) - 919 mb (27.14”)
Andrew (1992) - 920 mb (27.17”)
By sustained wind, Michael remains the fourth-most intense mainland U.S. landfalling hurricane.
Florida Keys Labor Day Hurricane (1935) - 185 mph (160 kt)
Camille (1969) - 175 mph (150 kt)
Andrew (1992) - 165 mph (145 kt)
Michael (2018) - 160 mph (140 kt)
First Category 4 or 5 Hurricane on record to strike the Florida Panhandle
Latest Category 5 mainland U.S. landfalling hurricane on record (Oct. 10)
Michael caused 16 direct fatalities in the United States
Florida: 7 total; 5 storm surge, 2 wind
Virginia: 5 freshwater flooding
North Carolina: 3 wind
Georgia: 1 wind
Michael was associated with 43 indirect deaths in the United States, all in Florida.
Causes of the indirect deaths included falls during the post-storm clean up, traffic accidents, and medical issues compounded by the hurricane.
NCEI estimates that total U.S. damage from Michael was about $25 billion:
$18.4B in Florida
$4.7B in Georgia
$1.1B in Alabama
Smaller amounts in SC, NC, VA
The full report is found at https://www.nhc.noaa.gov/data/tcr/AL142018_Michael.pdf