Financial Mirror (Cyprus)

The strength of hurricanes making landfall in the U.S.

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Hurricane Ian hit the West Florida coast close to Fort Myers yesterday, causing widespread destructio­n, flooding and power outages. Upon making landfall at offshore island Cayo Costa, Ian was classified as a category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale, exhibiting wind speeds of up to 150 miles per hours. A storm surge in the area reached a peak of 12 feet while a maximum of two million people were out of power in the state last night.

According to the Atlantic Oceanograp­hic & Meteorolog­ical Laboratory at the National Oceanic & Atmospheri­c Administra­tion, only 32 hurricanes have made landfall as a category 4 storm or higher in the continenta­l U.S. since record began in 1851. Category 5 starts at a wind speed of 157 miles per hour, making

Ian a hurricane at the upper threshold of category 4 and the fourth-strongest to ever hit Florida together with Hurricane Charly in 2004 (also 150 mph).

The three stronger storm that have hit Florida were all classified as category 5 – Hurricane Michael in 2018, Hurricane Andrew in 1992 and the destructiv­e Labor Day hurricane of 1935, which claimed an estimated

400 lives when it slammed the Florida Keys. Considerin­g all of the continenta­l U.S., Ian was the fifth-strongest to ever hit, albeit in an eight-way tie, according to Fox Weather.

On Thursday morning, the storm was still making its way across the state but was downgraded to a category 1 storm Wednesday night and finally, a tropical storm as of 5 a.m. local time on Thursday. (Statista)

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