The Sudden, Shocking Growth of Hurricane Michael

Author Rick Coates

In case you needed another reason to get out of your carbon dioxide generator (AKA automobile) when you travel consider Hurricane Michael.   It’s the burning of fossil fuels in our cars that causes climate change.

On Wednesday afternoon, Hurricane Michael became the second major storm to make landfall this year. Michael is an incredibly dangerous, history-making storm, bringing catastrophic high winds and deadly storm surge to Florida’s Panhandle. It ranks among the most ferocious land-falling hurricanes in American history.

“THIS IS A WORST CASE SCENARIO for the Florida Panhandle!” said Louis Uccellini, the director of the National Weather Service, in a statement. Officials urged local residents who have not already evacuated to stay inside or find shelter on high ground.

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.

And by one important measure, Michael is the third strongest storm ever to come ashore in the continental United States. Only the Labor Day Storm, in 1935, and Hurricane Camille, in 1969, had a lower barometric pressure than this storm.

This intensity could spell potential disaster for Florida’s Panhandle. On Wednesday morning, Air Force Hurricane Hunters measured sustained, minute-long winds of 150 miles per hour near Michael’s eye. Winds that strong are capable of snapping trees in half, sending telephone poles flying through the air, and tearing the roof off of well-built homes. Such powerful gales often leave the area “uninhabitable for weeks or months,” according to the National Hurricane Center.