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Michael | Hurricane Comparison

MICHAEL: Monumental stats, monster storm shatters records

Digital writers

Wednesday, October 10, 2018, 5:02 PM - As Hurricane Michael brings flooding rains, destructive winds, and unprecedented storm surge to Florida, below is a look back at previous storms that made landfall along the panhandle.

The monster hurricane made landfall at 12:30 p.m. CDT near Mexico Beach, Fla. 

Michael is officially the third strongest hurricane to make landfall in the U.S. based on surface pressure. It is the first category 4 storm to make landfall in the continental U.S. in October since Hurricane Hazel (October, 1954). 

Michael is expected to produce life-threatening storm surge, with water levels up to 14 feet along the Gulf Coast. Widespread rainfall amounts of 100-200 mm are in the cards, however, localized areas could see up to 300 mm. A few tornadoes cannot be ruled out.

RELATED: Eyeing a Canadian connection as Hurricane Michael races past

About 375,000 residents have been ordered to evacuate in Florida. Below is a look at Michael by the numbers. 


  • Since 1851, NO category 4 or 5 hurricane has make landfall in the Florida Panhandle
  • Michael is the second major hurricane of the 2018 Atlantic Hurricane Season
  • Only two category 5 hurricanes have made landfall on Florida: Labor Day hurricane (1935), Andrew (1992)
  • NO category 5 hurricanes have made landfall in the month of October in Florida
  • Only one category 4 storm has hit the state of Florida in October (King: 1950)


  • Strongest hurricanes to make landfall along the Florida Panhandle was Pensacola in 1882, and Eloise in 1975, with maximum sustained winds of 201 km/h


  • Unlike Florence, rain is NOT a major concern with Michael. While up to 12 inches (300 mm) are possible, the rain will not be as much of a hazard as winds and storm surge
  • Hurricane Easy in 1950 is the record-holder for rainfall in Florida, with 45.20 inches recorded (1148 mm)


  • As of 1 p.m. ET, Michael had a central pressure of 919 millibars (mb) 
  • The most intense landfall in Florida was Labour Day in (1935), with a central pressure of 892 mb, followed by Hurricane Andrew in 1991 at 922 mb


  • Storm surge of 5.5 feet has already been reported in Apalachicola, FL
  • High tides of concern along the Florida Gulf Coast through early Thursday (all times are local): Panama City -- 10:30 p.m. Wednesday, Apalachicola -- 6:10 p.m. Wednesday | 4:58 a.m. Thursday, Cedar Key -- 3:36 p.m. Wednesday | 3:18 a.m. Thursday, Tampa Bay/St. Petersburg -- 4:06 p.m. Wednesday | 3:09 a.m. Thursday 
  • Hurricane Irma (2017) caused reversed storm surge for parts of the Florida Gulf Coast, which occurs when water levels recede further than the typical water line, causing more land to be exposed. Reversed storm surge is NOT expected with Michael 


  • More than 2,500 people lost their lives in Okeechobee, which hit in 1928 
  • Most recently, the 1935 Labor Day hurricane caused 409 deaths

-- With files from The Weather Network meteorologist Matt Grinter


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