(News Channel 9) – Hurricane Michael, which devastated a swath of the Florida Panhandle last fall, was actually stronger than initially measured, prompting forecasters to upgrade it from a Category 4 storm to a Category 5 storm, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced Friday. The upgraded status means Michael was the first hurricane to make landfall in the United States as a Category 5 since Hurricane Andrew in 1992, and only the fourth on record.

“My thought is simply that most of us thought we were dealing with a (Category) 5 anyway,” said Al Cathey, mayor of Mexico Beach, which bore the brunt of the storm when it hit. National Hurricane Center scientists conducted a detailed post-storm analysis for Hurricane Michael, which made landfall near Mexico Beach, Florida, and Tyndall Air Force Base on Oct. 10, 2018. They’ve determined that its estimated intensity at landfall was 160 mph (257 kph), a 5 mph (8 kph) increase over the operational estimate used last fall, NOAA said in a news release. READ MORE

WTVC is a dual ABC/Fox-affiliated television station licensed to Chattanooga, Tennessee, United States. It broadcasts a high definition digital signal on virtual and VHF channel 9 from a transmitter on Signal Mountain in the town of Walden.