Hurricane Irma Has Maintained 185 MPH Winds Longer Than Any Other Storm In the Satellite Era

NOAA National Weather Service National Hurricane Center/Handout via REUTERS

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Michael Bastasch DCNF Managing Editor
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Hurricane Irma has maintained 185-mile-per-hour winds for more than 42 hours, making it the longest-lasting storm of this magnitude in the satellite era, which began in 1966.

In fact, Irma is on its way to being the third-longest-living Category 5 hurricane on record, including the pre-satellite era. Meteorologist Chris Dolce noted Irma would hit number three by 11 am Thursday morning.

Supertyphoon Haiyan of 2013 is the only other tropical cyclone to maintain maximum sustained winds of 185 miles per hour for 24 hours in the satellite era, according to Colorado State University meteorologist Phil Klotzbach.

And that’s not the only record Irma has broken while leaving a trail of destruction as it passes over Caribbean islands on its way towards Florida.

Irma is the strongest Atlantic storm to exist outside the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico, with maximum sustained winds topping 185 miles per hour, according to a fact sheet put together by Klotzbach.

When the Gulf and Caribbean are thrown in, Irma is tied with three other hurricanes — Florida Keys, Gilbert and Wilma — for the second strongest winds in the Atlantic. Hurricane Allen of 1980 had maximum sustained winds of 190 miles per hour.

Irma is also the strongest storm on record to hit the Leeward Islands. Previously, the strongest storms to hit the island chain were the Okeechobee Hurricane in 1928 and Hurricane David in 1979, according to Klotzbach.

Klotzbach also noted Irma generated the most Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) of any tropical Atlantic cyclone on record. ACE is a wind energy index used by hurricane experts to measure and compare different storm seasons, especially in the Atlantic basin.

Irma generated more ACE than the first eight named storms in the Atlantic this season, including Hurricane Harvey that made landfall in Texas as a Category 4 storm in late August. Irma also generated the most ACE in a 24-hour period, beating out Hurricane Allen of 1980.

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