Hurricane Michael has been upgraded to a Category Five storm and is one of the strongest to strike the United States.
Initial estimates reported Michael was just two miles per hour shy of a Category 5 Hurricane when it slammed into Mexico Beach and pummeled Panama City on October 10 last year. It carved a wide swath of damage North and into South Georgia. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s announcement comes as little surprise to communities hit by the storm. It has widely been assumed the storm’s rating would be revised upward.
“The news that Hurricane Michael was a Category 5 storm at landfall will come as no surprise to anyone who is still living with the aftermath of this monster storm. Six months later we still don’t have congressional relief dollars, and the people of the Panhandle are stuck in the middle of political games. The prolonged recovery process has only been made worse by the lack of compassion of members of Congress turning a blind eye to the hardships in Northwest Florida.
“I hope this news serves as a strong wake up call to those prioritizing politics over real people fighting to get by," Florida Cheif Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis said in a statement. "The Panhandle has so many families struggling as they piece their lives back together bit by bit—we need relief now."
Scientists now say Hurricane Michael made landfall with winds of 160 miles per hour. That makes it the first Cat 5 storm to hit the U.S. since 1992’s Hurricane Andrew. Only four storms of such strength, including Michael, have ever struck the United States.