Mark Sudduth of HurricaneTrack on the similarities and differences between Hurricane Ian and Hurricane Michael.
Hurricane Michael slammed into the Florida Panhandle four years ago, becoming one of only four Category 5 hurricanes to make landfall in the U.S.
Michael made landfall Oct. 10, 2018, near Mexico Beach, Florida. Originally, the National Hurricane Center believed Michael was a Category 4 storm at landfall, but a post-storm analysis revealed maximum sustained winds of about 160 mph, making it a Category 5 storm.
Catastrophic damage occurred not only to towns in the Panama City area, but also Tyndall Air Force Base located on a peninsula between Panama City and Mexico Beach.
The powerful winds pushed ashore between 9 and 14 feet of storm surge along a nearly 30-mile stretch of the coast from near Tyndall Air Force Base to Port St. Joe. According to the National Hurricane Center, storm surge approached 15 feet in the Mexico Beach area.
Michael maintained hurricane strength after it moved deeper into the region. According to the NHC, hurricane-force gusts were reported as far inland as Albany, Georgia, about 160 miles northeast of where the storm made landfall.
Hurricane Michael killed 59 people in the U.S. – 16 directly and 43 in directly. Most of those deaths happened in Florida, but storm-related fatalities were also reported in Georgia, North Carolina and Virginia.
The storm caused an estimated $25.5 billion in damage.
At landfall, Hurricane Michael had a minimum central pressure of 919 millibars. According to the NHC, that is the third-lowest pressure on record for a landfalling U.S. hurricane since reliable records began in 1900. The Labor Day Hurricane (892 mb) and Hurricane Camille (900 mb) take the first and second spots.
In terms of wind, Michael’s 160-mph estimated winds makes it the third-strongest hurricane to make landfall in the U.S. The Labor Day Hurricane (185 mph) and Hurricane Andrew (165 mph) take first and second place.
There have been four Category 5 landfalls in the U.S. since the 1920s.