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HURRICANE MICHAEL | 2018

Hurricane Michael was the third-most intense Atlantic hurricane to make landfall in the United States in terms of pressure, behind the 1935 Labor Day hurricane and Hurricane Camille of 1969. It was also the strongest storm in terms of maximum sustained wind speed to strike the contiguous United States since Andrew in 1992. In addition, it was the strongest storm on record in the Florida Panhandle, and was the fourth-strongest landfalling hurricane in the contiguous United States, in terms of wind speed.

 

By October 22, at least 54 deaths had been attributed to the storm, including 39 in the United States and 15 in Central America. Insurance losses due to Michael in the United States were estimated between $8–11 billion (2018 USD). Losses to agriculture and timber alone exceeded $3.7 billion. As a tropical depression, the storm caused extensive flooding in Central America in concert with a second disturbance over the eastern Pacific Ocean. In Cuba, the hurricane's winds left over 200,000 people without power as the storm passed to the island's west. Along the Florida panhandle, the cities of Mexico Beach and Panama City suffered the worst of Michael, with catastrophic damage reported due to the extreme winds and storm surge. Numerous homes were flattened and trees felled over a wide swath of the panhandle. A maximum wind gust of 129 mph (208 km/h) was measured at Tyndall Air Force Base near the point of landfall. As Michael tracked across the Southeastern United States, strong winds caused extensive power outages across the region.

 

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