In the final report published today by the National Hurricane Center, Hurricane Michael was officially upgraded to a Category 5 hurricane.
This makes Hurricane Michael the FOURTH Cat 5 to make landfall in the continental United States. Since we started keeping hurricane data in 1851, there have been over 900 hurricanes, putting a Category 5 storm in the rare 99.5%. Here are the only other three since 1851:
Labor Day Hurricane (1935)- this storm skirted the gulf coast from the tip of Florida all the way to its landfall near Cedar Key. The tradition of naming storms didn’t start until 1950, so this storm was simply referred to as the Labor Day Hurricane since it hit over Labor Day weekend. Max winds around 185mph and lowest pressure ever recorded for landfall in a US hurricane of 892mbar. If this storm hit today it would certainly cause more damage than the $1.7 billion (adjusted for inflation) it caused at the time.
Hurricane Camille (1969)- Camille made landfall in mid-august on the Mississippi coast as the second lowest pressure storm. Officially the wind speed at landfall was 175mph but they say most of the measuring equipment didn’t survive and speeds could have been above 200mph. Moving rapidly, it brought a 24ft storm surge and caused 259 deaths with $9.8 billion (adjusted) in damage. It was originally forecasted to make a northeastward turn, just like Michael, but the turn never came. It's path would be shadowed by Hurricane Katrina 36 years later.
Hurricane Andrew (1992)- Andrew was the costliest storm to hit America until it was surpassed by Katrina 13 years later. It damaged or destroyed over 200,000 houses, killed 65 and caused $27 billion (adjusted) in damage throughout the southeast. It has the distinction of making landfall in two different states and being both an Atlantic and gulf hurricane. Many attribute the change in Florida's building code as a response to the damage caused in this storm.
Hurricane Michael (2018)- resulted in 16 deaths and about $25billion in damage. It was stronger than Andrew but winds fell a little short, making its wind speed the lowest of the Cat 5 Club at 160mph. It also hit the least populated area of the Cat 5s; the others wreaked havoc over multiple states, spawning tornados, flash floods, and property damage, while Michael tore through mostly agricultural land after hitting the coast. There are a lot of measurements in a storm, but many consider Michael the 3rd most intense storm to hit the continental US.
Yeah, th Cat 5 club is exclusive. Hopefully the trend of 20+ years between them holds true.
Read the full report here