NOAA upgrades Hurricane Michael to Category 5 in new post-season analysis
(Image credit: NOAA)
Last fall’s Hurricane Michael has been upgraded to a Category 5 at landfall — making it the first Category 5 storm to make landfall in the U.S. since Hurricane Andrew in 1992. Michael hit the coast with winds of 160 mph on October 10, 2018 near Mexico Beach, Florida.
The upgrade, made after “a detailed post-storm analysis” and announced Friday, also makes Michael one of only four Category 5 storms to strike the U.S. in recorded history. The others are the Labor Day Hurricane in 1935 and Hurricane Camille 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,” NOAA said in a news release.
“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.”
(Image credit: NOAA)
The cold front expected to rip across the Florida peninsula was developing in the Gulf of Mexico early Friday morning. A Coastal Flood advisory was in effect for the West Coast, along with high surf producing “very dangerous conditions” along the Gulf Coast.
In East-Central Florida, a High Wind Advisory was in effect until 10 p.m. Forecasters said winds could gust up to 40 mph, except during thunderstorms, when they could gust “in excess” of 60 mph.
Heavy rain was possible anywhere on the peninsula. Look for a roundup of rainfall totals on Saturday. Fingers crossed for no severe weather or damaging storms.
EASTER SUNDAY: Since the holiday is so late this year, we might have expected steamy, tropical weather for Easter, but that will not be the case. Sunday’s forecast high in Miami is only 76 after a morning low of 66, with pleasant, dry air taking hold. The normal high in Miami is 84 and the normal low is 69.
West Palm Beach is forecast to start the day out at 60, which is the normal low for February 18.
Sunday morning’s Orlando temperature should sink to around 54 degrees, and reach a high of 79 under clear skies.
Tampa’s forecast low for Sunday morning is 57, with an expected high of 76.
In Jacksonville, wake-up weather looks like a rather chilly 51 degrees, but under lots of sun the forecast high is 77.
RECORD WATCH: Naples tied a record high Thursday with 90, matching a record originally set in 1989. It was 89 in Marathon, which tied a record set in 2013 and 2015.
DROUGHT WATCH: Abnormally Dry conditions spread east across the panhandle in the new report by the U.S. Drought Monitor released Thursday. Dry conditions are now as far south and east as Levy County. The five western counties in the panhandle, from Escambia east to Holmes County, remain under Moderate Drought.
The only Abnormally Dry conditions on the peninsula are in Indian River and Brevard counties.