Hurricane Michael was one of the most powerful landfalling hurricanes on record this year and was actually considered the third most intense U.S. landfall nu pressure and fourth-strongest by wind on record. Michael was the a Category 4 hurricane that made landfall on the Florida Panhandle. With a 14 foot storm surge and winds as high as 155 miles per hour, Michael was definitely strong and caused billions of dollars of damage in the areas that were affected.
Michael was the first Category 4 hurricane on record to ever make landfall on the Florida Panhandle. Florida’s Panhandle ranges from the Northwestern part of the state, lying between Alabama on the North and West, Georgia on the North, and the Gulf to the South. Michael’s aftermath also affected other states in the U.S. like Virginia, New Jersey, and North Carolina.
Michael first form as a Tropical Depression on October 7th, meaning it formed under a low pressure area accompanied by thunderstorms that started a circular wind flow with winds that were below 39 miles per hour. From there Michael quickly intensified from a Tropical Depression to a Category 1 hurricane in only 24 hours. This means that Michael’s winds had became even stronger to about 74 to 95 miles per hour. Within another 24 hours, on October 9th, Michael strengthened into a Category 3 hurricane reaching winds of 111 to 129 miles per hour.
Then again on October 10th, another day later, the hurricane strengthened to a Category 4 meaning Michael was reaching winds of 155 miles per hour causing a lot of damage to the areas affected. Finally, on October 11th, the following day, Michael weakens to a tropical storm and then the following day becomes post tropical meaning it is no long a tropical cyclone. So, in total, Michael spent 5 whole days as a tropical cyclone. Due to the location of Michael and the fact that warm water fuel hurricanes was the reason why Michael became so strong and in such a short amount of time.
The destruction from Michael was very intense and even damaged many people’s homes leaving some in pieces. The winds were so strong they knocked down power lines, leaving 1.6 million without power at one time. Michael also spread great amounts of rain from the Florida Panhandle. “There were 204 reports of flash flooding in the 48-hour period ending 8 a.m. EDT Oct. 12, associated with Michael from Georgia to New Jersey.” (The Weather Channel)
The flash flooding also caused water rescues to be performed because water was entering homes, businesses, and even government buildings, as well as street flooding’s ultimately closing roads during the storm. Something others ways Michael caused destruction were damaged crops, hospitals had to be evacuated. “Bay Medical Sacred Heart was moving about 200 patients from buildings with blown-out windows, a cracked exterior wall and a collapsed roof. “(Press, Associated.) With all damage caused by Hurricane Michael, it is totaling in the billions.
The chances of another Tropical storm to hit the Florida Panhandle is still very likely due to the history and location of two other hurricanes that hit them in the past. Hurricanes usually form over warm ocean waters and usually start out as storms. As they gather energy through contact with warm ocean waters, the evaporation from the seawater increases, along with their power. The next hurricane, when and if it happens, will not be as intense of storm will happen next time. The last time there was a storm this strong was in the later 1800’s, which is over 100 years making it very unlikely for a Category 4 hurricane to hit the Florida Panhandle.
Hurricane destruction can not be completely avoided but we can certainly work on a few things to help prevent the damages done by hurricanes. One example would be to update building codes for this type of severe weather. Most buildings that were in this area were prepared for these kinds of winds. Another example would be flood barriers, “Barriers are effective in preventing minor floodwaters from entering the home. Some products are easy to install and can be deployed just before a storm.” (Guillot, Craig.)
Other examples to help prevent hurricane destruction would be hurricane glass, accordion shutters (easily and quickly deployed in the event of a storm), and lastly garage door braces to help provide extra support to garage doors. There unfortunately is no possibly way to completely avoid the destruction from our weather phenomena but there are definitely ways that we can do to help prevent as much destruction. Though it may be cost effective to go this route, to update our buildings to such an extent, but the damage caused from Michael alone makes it worth it.