Talk about a record breaker.
According to the Hurricane Research Division of the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration, Hurricane Michael just became the third strongest hurricane to make landfall in the United States.
Ranked by minimum sea level pressure, Michael — 919 mb — has surpassed Katrina (920 mb), Donna (930 mb) and even Andrew (922 mb) in power. The Labor Day Hurricane in 1935 ranks first (892 mb) and Hurricane Camille is second (900 mb).
Michael made landfall around 12:40 p.m. CT near Mexico Beach, about 24 miles southeast of Panama City.
Category 4 Hurricane Michael roared ashore on the Florida panhandle just two miles per hour shy of a Category 5.
Michael made landfall near Mexico Beach, Florida with maximum sustained winds of 155 mph and a minimum central pressure of 919 millibars. Michael is being compared with the devastation from Hurricane Andrew in 1992 that hit Homestead as a Category 5. So far according to Governor Rick Scott, there is one confirmed death to which he stated, “Hurricane Michael cannot break Florida.”
Michael, which will churn across the Southeast over the next several days, has already broken records. As a powerful Category 4 storm on the Saffir-Simpson wind scale, Michael is the strongest hurricane ever recorded making landfall on Florida’s Panhandle. It is also the strongest October hurricane ever known to come ashore in the continental United States, according to the historian Philip Klotzbach.
What sticks out about Hurricane Michael’s development is that it got very strong, very quickly. It became a tropical storm on Sunday afternoon. Only on Tuesday did it intensify into a major hurricane, with winds above 111 miles per hour.
Water levels will continue to rise, and a storm surge over 7.7 feet has already been reported at Apalachicola, Florida. Cedar Key, Florida, has seen a storm surge over 5 feet.
Destructive winds continue spread northward into southeastern Alabama and southwestern Georgia.
Currently nearly a half million Floridians are without power.
Officials fear that over a million power outages will occur not just near the coast, but also inland after landfall.