Hurricane Michael is expected to become one of the most intense hurricanes to make landfall in U.S. history behind only hurricanes Camille in 1969 and the Florida Keys Labor Day Hurricane of 1935.
Michael accomplished that feat when it hit an estimated minimum central pressure of 919 millibars upon arriving – it surpassed Katrina at 920 mb in 2005, according to reports Wednesday from the National Weather Service.
Only Camille and the Florida Keys Labor Day Hurricane, both of which were Category 5 hurricanes, had lower central pressure landfall. The lower the pressure, the more intense the hurricane – central pressure is but one of the metrics used to determine a storm’s intensity.
Most continental U.S. Category 4 hurricane landfalls happen in either September or August, or sometime during the middle-part of the hurricane season, which generally extends between June 1 and Nov. 30. (RELATED: Here’s What You Need To Know About Hurricane Michael As It Targets Florida)
Michael breaks that trend. It will be the first Category 4 continental U.S. hurricane landfall to happen in October in 64 years. Prior to Michael, Hazel was perhaps the most intense hurricane to hit the East Coast.
It arrived on Oct. 15, 1954 as a monstrous Category 4 and killed at least 400 people in Haiti before striking North and South Carolina. Hazel eventually hit Canada as a tropical storm, raising the North American death toll to 81 people. Hazel had its name retired from use for Atlantic hurricanes.
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