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Hurricane Michael was the strongest tropical cyclone to strike the continental United States since Andrew in 1992 and the strongest on record in the Florida Panhandle. It was the third-most intense hurricane to make landfall on the United States in terms of pressure, behind the 1935 Labor Day hurricane and Hurricane Camille of 1969, as well as the fourth-strongest landfalling hurricane in the contiguous United States in terms of wind speed.
The thirteenth named storm, seventh hurricane, and second major hurricane of the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season, Michael originated from a broad low-pressure area that formed in the southwestern Caribbean Sea on October 2. The disturbance became a tropical depression on October 7, after nearly a week of slow development. By the next day, Michael had intensified into a hurricane near the western tip of Cuba as it moved northward. Strengthening continued in the Gulf of Mexico, first to a major hurricane on October 9, and further to a Category 4 hurricane on the Saffir–Simpson scale. Approaching the Florida Panhandle, Michael attained peak winds of 155 mph (250 km/h) as it made landfall near Mexico Beach, Florida, on October 10, becoming the first to do so in the region as a Category 4 hurricane, and making landfall as the strongest storm of the season. As it moved inland, the storm weakened and began to take a northeastward trajectory toward Chesapeake Bay, weakening to a tropical storm over Georgia, and transitioning into an extratropical cyclone off the coast of the the Mid-Atlantic states on October 12.
By October 10, at least 32 deaths had been attributed to Michael and its precursor, including 17 in the United States and 15 in Central America. Insurance loss are estimated to be at least $8 billion (2018 USD). The precursor to Michael caused extensive flooding in Central America in concert with a second disturbance over the eastern Pacific Ocean. In Cuba, the hurricane's winds left over 200,000 people without power as the storm passed to the island's west. Along the Florida panhandle, the cities of Mexico Beach and Panama City suffered the worst of Michael, with catastrophic damage reported due to the extreme winds and storm surge. Numerous homes were flattened and trees felled over a wide swath of the panhandle. A maximum wind gust of 129 mph (208 km/h) was measured at Tyndall Air Force Base near the point of landfall. As Michael tracked across the Southeastern United States, strong winds caused extensive power outages over the region.

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