"We are in new territory," National Hurricane Center Meteorologist Dennis Feltgen wrote on Facebook. "The historical record, going back to 1851, finds no Category 4 hurricane ever hitting the Florida panhandle." Hurricane Michael is making landfall just within that speed range—the upper end of it. The Orlando Sentinel reports the storm officially made landfall Wednesday afternoon near the tourist town of Mexico Beach, with 155mph winds that put it just below Category 5 status. The AP calls it "one of the most powerful storms ever to hit the US mainland," and CSU meteorologist Philip Klotzbach gets much more specific. His findings, and more on the storm:
- Klotzbach tweets Michael is the 4th strongest hurricane on record to make landfall in the continental US as ranked by maximum sustained wind speed, behind the Labor Day storm of 1935, Camille (1969), and Andrew (1992).
- As for the strongest ranked by minimum sea level pressure at landfall, Michael is No. 3, behind Labor Day and Camille and just above Katrina, he tweets.