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Major Hurricane Michael

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The reanalysis minutes specifically mentions every storm below 973 weakening in the last 20 years on the ngom lol. I think the effect is definitely real...Michael and Camille are testaments that they can continue to intensify up to landfall but most still will weaken.

Oh absolutely historical data and climatology favor major hurricanes weakening due to all the aformentioned issues that Camille and Michael overcame. Intensity is still the most difficult aspect of tropical forecasting. Hopefully next time we have a hurricane forecasted along the N. Gulf coast, we are able to see if those issues that commonly result in weakening are there and not just assume or expect weakening will occur per usual.

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4 hours ago, Windspeed said:

Oh absolutely historical data and climatology favor major hurricanes weakening due to all the aformentioned issues that Camille and Michael overcame. Intensity is still the most difficult aspect of tropical forecasting. Hopefully next time we have a hurricane forecasted along the N. Gulf coast, we are able to see if those issues that commonly result in weakening are there and not just assume or expect weakening will occur per usual.

It’s not just weakening occurring, it’s that this thing absolutely exploded as it approached the coast. What stuck out to me were the extremely cold cloud tops and fairly strong winds (105-115) within what was a pretty disorganized system for a hurricane of that strength two days before landfall. Then it got its act together and bombed out upon impact, there is no way that could have been expected

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1 hour ago, nwohweather said:

It’s not just weakening occurring, it’s that this thing absolutely exploded as it approached the coast. What stuck out to me were the extremely cold cloud tops and fairly strong winds (105-115) within what was a pretty disorganized system for a hurricane of that strength two days before landfall. Then it got its act together and bombed out upon impact, there is no way that could have been expected

I think we'll find that the high CI (convective instability) environment (not unlike typically found in the WPac -- with high environmental tropopause levels) helped significantly.

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This was from a few days ago but look forward to the final analysis of surge -

Also an interesting article pre-storm (10/10/18) reprinted by Scientific American - https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/hurricane-michael-could-do-billions-of-dollars-of-damage/

An early analysis from the real estate analytics firm CoreLogic Inc. found that just over 52,000 homes are at risk of storm surge damage
if Michael arrives as a Category 3 storm on the northern Gulf Coast. Under a Category 4 scenario, the number of at-risk homes rises to
84,000, according to the firm.

As of yesterday evening, the National Weather Service had issued a hurricane warning along roughly 340 miles of the coast, from the
Alabama-Florida border to the Suwannee River.

A westward drift—toward the Crestview-Fort Walton Beach-Destin metropolitan statistical area—would be considerably more destructive than
a landfall between Panama City and Port St. Joe, where both the number and value of at-risk homes is lower, based on reconstruction cost-
value estimates provided by CoreLogic.

If Michael’s storm surge is centered even more to the east, over Apalachicola Bay, it could hit several barrier islands—including the
resort community of St. George Island—before plowing northward through the Apalachicola National Forest toward Tallahassee. There,
between 7,000 and 12,000 homes would be at risk from a Category 3 or 4 storm.

 

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It’s not just weakening occurring, it’s that this thing absolutely exploded as it approached the coast. What stuck out to me were the extremely cold cloud tops and fairly strong winds (105-115) within what was a pretty disorganized system for a hurricane of that strength two days before landfall. Then it got its act together and bombed out upon impact, there is no way that could have been expected

Though I agree that nobody could have foreseen much less expected a 919 mb monster, I wouldn't say that the rapid intensification hit us blindly. Again, I was stunned by the maximum intensity, absolutely, but not shocked to see that Michael continued strengthening through landfall. All of the favorable environmental aspects were present aside from strong shear. That's a huge unfavorable negative. But given the positives, you abate it and you've got a problem.

 

RI happened in two phases, but the second was modeled surprisingly well in hindsight. The initial 21 mb drop overnight on Sun was impressive on its own. But we also have to remember that the LLC relocated east just before that drop. At any rate, let's focus on the second phase near landfall that was modeled well.

 

Several numericals and the intensity guidance, such as SHiPS, had repeatedly supported RI to a major hurricane as early as 00z Monday. That guidance further increased 06z Monday and, to no surprise, the Mon 09z suite from the NHC alluded to the possibility of a major hurricane intensifying into landfall. The very next package, they were forecasting it. We had repeated HWRF runs into the 930s, and though not being a focus for maximum intensity, even the generally conservative ECMWF op had multiple suites into the 930s. There were very important reasons for all this precursor however.

 

Strong instability and poleward divergence was modeled unanimously and well ahead of time. SSTs were above normal right up to the coastline. If the overrider was being strong shear, it seemed North to Northeast forward motion would decrease it and allow the mid level flow in the steering column to align. We even discussed this early on in this very thread while Michael was still a tropical storm. And I believe we were already talking the possibility of a major hurricane. I was worried if the flow aligned, we might see something we had not experienced in many years -- an intensifying major into landfall on the N. Gulf coast. We just could not foresee such an explosion, as you put it.

 

Edit: I should also emphasize that, as far as I am aware, no legitimate numerical or dynamical model guidance forecasted the intensity we observed. I stress legitimate. Please, do not bring up any one of the mesoscale outputs of that which shall not be spoken.

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2 hours ago, Windspeed said:

Though I agree that nobody could have foreseen much less expected a 919 mb monster, I wouldn't say that the rapid intensification hit us blindly. Again, I was stunned by the maximum intensity, absolutely, but not shocked to see that Michael continued strengthening through landfall. All of the favorable environmental aspects were present aside from strong shear. That's a huge unfavorable negative. But given the positives, you abate it and you've got a problem.

 

RI happened in two phases, but the second was modeled surprisingly well in hindsight. The initial 21 mb drop overnight on Sun was impressive on its own. But we also have to remember that the LLC relocated east just before that drop. At any rate, let's focus on the second phase near landfall that was modeled well.

 

Several numericals and the intensity guidance, such as SHiPS, had repeatedly supported RI to a major hurricane as early as 00z Monday. That guidance further increased 06z Monday and, to no surprise, the Mon 09z suite from the NHC alluded to the possibility of a major hurricane intensifying into landfall. The very next package, they were forecasting it. We had repeated HWRF runs into the 930s, and though not being a focus for maximum intensity, even the generally conservative ECMWF op had multiple suites into the 930s. There were very important reasons for all this precursor however.

 

Strong instability and poleward divergence was modeled unanimously and well ahead of time. SSTs were above normal right up to the coastline. If the overrider was being strong shear, it seemed North to Northeast forward motion would decrease it and allow the mid level flow in the steering column to align. We even discussed this early on in this very thread while Michael was still a tropical storm. And I believe we were already talking the possibility of a major hurricane. I was worried if the flow aligned, we might see something we had not experienced in many years -- an intensifying major into landfall on the N. Gulf coast. We just could not foresee such an explosion, as you put it.

 

Edit: I should also emphasize that, as far as I am aware, no legitimate numerical or dynamical model guidance forecasted the intensity we observed. I stress legitimate. Please, do not bring up any one of the mesoscale outputs of that which shall not be spoken.

There is something else that happened (or didn't happen IIRC) that allowed this to thread the needle the way it did coming in "hot" and that was that I don't believe it ever got chance to go through an ERC before landfall.  For much of its journey, it didn't keep a consistently closed eye until right before it hit, so it's scary to imagine if it had had an hour or so more time to ramp up even more before landfall, before it might have actually gone through an ERC (but by then it would have already been over land).

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There is something else that happened (or didn't happen IIRC) that allowed this to thread the needle the way it did coming in "hot" and that was that I don't believe it ever got chance to go through an ERC before landfall.  For much of its journey, it didn't keep a consistently closed eye until right before it hit, so it's scary to imagine if it had had an hour or so more time to ramp up even more before landfall, before it might have actually gone through an ERC (but by then it would have already been over land).
The lack of an ERC or delayed ERC and Michael's rapid intensification near landfall has also been discussed and I understand the reasoning. I am a little apprehensive to hang my hat on it however mainly due to it all being so speculative. That isn't to say that had an ERC occurred, Michael would not have made landfall as a weaker or weakening hurricane as far as sustained wind. The problem is that ERCs are a highly unpredictable process and generally vary with respect to landfall intensity. We have seen them take mere hours to several days to complete. We have also seen concentric eyewalls persist and the inner eyewalls continue intensifying for a full day before succumbing to subsidence. Conversely, we have observed hurricanes where the ERC process fails to complete as a well-organized outter eye band breaks down or gets reabsorbed back into the eyewall, such as with Irma last year and its everlasting stable eye through the Antilles.

I noticed one of the interesting aspects of Michael's development was its cyclogenesis out of a large gyre and broad surface trough. When the LLC reformed further east and a core consolidated near western Cuba, Michael's eyewall was originally reported by recon as 30 nm wide. That's a rather large eye for a hurricane to start its journey. Thanks to strong westerly mid level shear, the eyewall generally remained open in the SW semicircle and also weaker due to PV subsidence off seperate reoccurring mid-level MCS/MCVs. These would rotate around the northern semicircle of the circulation but seem to be strong enough to continue the pressure drops needed to maintain steady intensification of the core, despite said shear. This also kept the eye mostly or at least partially obscured by mid-to-high cloud debris and the eye temperature never really showed significant warming until the 12 hours prior to landfall. It is possible that both of these characteristics delayed the overall vortex from shrinking much, or a nearby outter band intensifying enough to advance the hurricane into an ERC. Still, had an ERC been allowed to occur and complete, we still aren't assured a weaker landfall.
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I think scientifically it’s important to discuss the strength of the storm, and this is directly pointed to those who were insinuating that it wasn’t what it was forecast wise along the points from landfall to its inland course. When you dig down past science it doesn’t matter what category it was for people like this!

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/11/us/hurricane-michael-girl-dead.html



.

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For those who like classic NHC AVN imagery, Dr. Phillippe Papin @USNRL archived an entire 24 hour GOES-16 10/10/18 mesoscale loop of Major Hurricane Michael through landfall.



You may download the 1392x1070 full resolution mp4 version here.

Classic AVN is extremely useful for comparing and contrasting cloud tops of historical TCs of the past three to four decades.
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7 hours ago, Windspeed said:

The lack of an ERC or delayed ERC and Michael's rapid intensification near landfall has also been discussed and I understand the reasoning. I am a little apprehensive to hang my hat on it however mainly due to it all being so speculative. That isn't to say that had an ERC occurred, Michael would not have made landfall as a weaker or weakening hurricane as far as sustained wind. The problem is that ERCs are a highly unpredictable process and generally vary with respect to landfall intensity. We have seen them take mere hours to several days to complete. We have also seen concentric eyewalls persist and the inner eyewalls continue intensifying for a full day before succumbing to subsidence. Conversely, we have observed hurricanes where the ERC process fails to complete as a well-organized outter eye band breaks down or gets reabsorbed back into the eyewall, such as with Irma last year and its everlasting stable eye through the Antilles.

I noticed one of the interesting aspects of Michael's development was its cyclogenesis out of a large gyre and broad surface trough. When the LLC reformed further east and a core consolidated near western Cuba, Michael's eyewall was originally reported by recon as 30 nm wide. That's a rather large eye for a hurricane to start its journey. Thanks to strong westerly mid level shear, the eyewall generally remained open in the SW semicircle and also weaker due to PV subsidence off seperate reoccurring mid-level MCS/MCVs. These would rotate around the northern semicircle of the circulation but seem to be strong enough to continue the pressure drops needed to maintain steady intensification of the core, despite said shear. This also kept the eye mostly or at least partially obscured by mid-to-high cloud debris and the eye temperature never really showed significant warming until the 12 hours prior to landfall. It is possible that both of these characteristics delayed the overall vortex from shrinking much, or a nearby outter band intensifying enough to advance the hurricane into an ERC. Still, had an ERC been allowed to occur and complete, we still aren't assured a weaker landfall.

And impact on the affected areas after or during an ERC depend on other factors too, such as what happens to the RMW, *where* the biggest population centers are in the storm’s path, and whether an expansion of the wind field actually makes things worse even if the max wind speed comes down. Maria is the ultimate example of how an ERC probably made things worse for the overall landfall. It was incomplete so the inner eyewall was still swinging around the periphery of the larger eye— and we have ground truth video from iCyclone of how crazy the conditions still were in areas impacted by the inner eyewall. Sure, max sustained wind speed dropped by 15 knots during the process, but the inner eyewall areas still got an upper Cat 4 hit, and the tripling of the eye diameter meant the most populated areas of the island got mauled by the dominant eyewall. 

An eyewall around a 9 n mi eye would not have crippled the entire island in the way that an eyewall around a 28 n mi eye did. We had discussions after Maria about the extreme total damage across a relatively small target—$90 billion is a crazy number for Puerto Rico plus the US Virgin Islands,  but it makes sense when anyone loops the radar up to the last functioning image as the outer eyewall is about to consume the entire island. Gilbert ‘88 in Jamaica came up as another example of that type of bulldozing.

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Some of my random notes about Micheal.

SSTs were pretty uniform in Michael's path for the northern 3/4 of the gomex.  Not like the rollercoaster SSTs other storms have experienced. Deepening rates were also pretty uniform accept for a couple intervals.

Even though there was shear, it was relaxing as Micheal approached land.  This is unusual, with most storms it is increasing near landfall and ends up weakening the storm faster than predicted.

The approaching troff captured Michael's outflow about 6 hours before landfall, right about the time it the intensification rate sped up even more. This troff might have been perfectly timed to allow for peak intensity near landfall.  Shear started picking up again over Georgia.

Micheal was in an area of environmentally low SLP, so the 919mb pressure maybe misleading by 4-8mb.

Maria took about 4 hrs to go from 950mb-925mb.  Micheal took over twice that long but still easily qualified for RI.

 

 

 

 

 

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Here's an illustration of the troff interaction.

Kind of looks like it causes the westerly shear to lift out and makes for a window of perfect conditions before creating southwesterly shear.

wtF26wH.gif

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This guy nailed it.

On 10/8/2018 at 2:02 AM, hlcater said:

It's possible I'm completely missing the mark here, but the flow aloft, while the system is sheared, is divergent(especially as Michael enters the gulf). Divergent flow aloft could help enhance thunderstorm activity during this period which could lead to an expedited development of the inner core. If so, the system could become more resilient to shear down the line. There will always be some mid level shear as winds appear likely to veer up till 500mb for the duration of Michael. But the 200mb wind setup really isn't that bad, especially right as Michael enters the gulf.

1b01e6d16cc921a9bd7bb83242d89021.png

 

gfs_uv200_watl_4.png
 

 

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Another spot on post

On 10/7/2018 at 5:32 PM, Windspeed said:

And for anyone curious as to that telling and why, a slower track prior to NE turn positions Michael in deep layer SW flow essential to allowing NE motion and abating mid level shear. This stacks/aligns the low level and mid level vortex while giving it more time over water to intensify. The faster paced and more NNW-to-northerly solutions maintain southwesterly mid level directional shear aside from less time over water. The favorable poleward upper level divergent outflow jet is going to be there regardless. Again, position and timing of that NE turn is going to be critical to landfall intensity.

 

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So sorry I was unable to post in this thread during my most recent hurricane intercept.  

Ended up documenting this indescribable event from ground zero in Mexico Beach, FL.  Most fortunate to be able to, but lost my car, phone, and some clothes in the process.    

Got a lot of incredible video, but will take some time to edit and upload to my YouTube channel.  That said, I did share some of it with a news crew down from Jacksonville, who posted it online.  Can be viewed on my Twitter account @tbrite89.  

Hope all are doing well and I'll post more and share more video in the near future.   

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6 hours ago, NJwx85 said:

This guy nailed it.

 

I wouldn't say nailed it, because you can tell I wasn't really that confident in my claim in the first sentence, but yes, I had a general idea that those strong convective bursts that were observed would probably cause the storm to intensify rather quickly. Even then, however, I was only really expecting 120-125mph on the high end, not 155. Right idea yes, but I'm still kinda shocked at the extent to which this strengthened.

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I wouldn't say nailed it, because you can tell I wasn't really that confident in my claim in the first sentence, but yes, I had a general idea that those strong convective bursts that were observed would probably cause the storm to intensify rather quickly. Even then, however, I was only really expecting 120-125mph on the high end, not 155. Right idea yes, but I'm still kinda shocked at the extent to which this strengthened.

 

Nobody expected that final outcome. I think some of us layed out the opportunity of intensification near landfall and pointed out why a major hurricane was possible but not certain. The NE turn and intensity ranges from low 940s to 930s at landfall in model guidance was concerning. It gave us the possibility of rapid deepening and that verified. But a TC reaching maximum potential though? Nope.

 

I should be clear that despite the possibility of a Cat 3, I thought the model runs deepening into the 930s by the HWRF and even the ECMWF OP were overdone.

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25 minutes ago, Windspeed said:

 

Nobody expected that final outcome. I think some of us layed out the opportunity of intensification near landfall and pointed out why a major hurricane was possible but not certain. The NE turn and intensity ranges from low 940s to 930s at landfall in model guidance was concerning. It gave us the possibility of rapid deepening and that verified. But a TC reaching maximum potential though? Nope.

 

I should be clear that despite the possibility of a Cat 3, I thought the model runs deepening into the 930s by the HWRF and even the ECMWF OP were overdone.

I did too. I thought the dry air from the trough to the west would eventually be injected into the inner core of Michael, aided by that not-so-pesky 20kts of SWly shear. Either by luck or by resilience, the core managed to deflect the dry air and never entrained it. So while the core did experience some assymetry due to subsidence and SWly shear, the steady strengthening probably would have halted with dry air. I HIGHLY doubt, no matter how robust the convection was, that it would have been able to outpace the double whammy of both shear and dry air. Expecting a dry air intrusion was not too far fetched of a prediction either, because it seems like every gulf system takes a gulp of the usually copious dry air at some point, and with that trough to the west, I for one, thought it was almost inevitable.

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2 hours ago, ncforecaster89 said:

So sorry I was unable to post in this thread during my most recent hurricane intercept.  

Ended up documenting this indescribable event from ground zero in Mexico Beach, FL.  Most fortunate to be able to, but lost my car, phone, and some clothes in the process.    

Got a lot of incredible video, but will take some time to edit and upload to my YouTube channel.  That said, I did share some of it with a news crew down from Jacksonville, who posted it online.  Can be viewed on my Twitter account @tbrite89.  

Hope all are doing well and I'll post more and share more video in the near future.   

Glad you made it out safely.  I cannot imagine the terror and heartbreak for anyone who ended up riding that out and/or coming back to nothing but debris or nothing at all.

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On 10/15/2018 at 2:22 PM, NavarreDon said:

I think scientifically it’s important to discuss the strength of the storm, and this is directly pointed to those who were insinuating that it wasn’t what it was forecast wise along the points from landfall to its inland course. When you dig down past science it doesn’t matter what category it was for people like this!

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/11/us/hurricane-michael-girl-dead.html



.

I saw this part and it took me back to an episode of weather brains with James Spann https://weatherbrains.com/?p=7193 WeatherBrains 656: Mike Dropping Moment 

Mr. Radney, 37, said he had told his father — Sarah’s grandfather — that he should consider leaving, but his father had reassured him: Modular homes like his were built to withstand 150-mile-per-hour winds.

So Mr. Radney relented, and decided he would call to check in at least once every hour, and sometimes every 15 minutes, on Wednesday. Everything was fine at first, he said; family members would send him photos of trees falling down around the home, which at least initially was “a sight to see,” Mr. Radney said.

 

And not that they mislead on purpose  i think some of the commercials and an famous you tube video kinda get this wrong info out there :(

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17 hours ago, ncforecaster89 said:

So sorry I was unable to post in this thread during my most recent hurricane intercept.  

Ended up documenting this indescribable event from ground zero in Mexico Beach, FL.  Most fortunate to be able to, but lost my car, phone, and some clothes in the process.    

Got a lot of incredible video, but will take some time to edit and upload to my YouTube channel.  That said, I did share some of it with a news crew down from Jacksonville, who posted it online.  Can be viewed on my Twitter account @tbrite89.  

Hope all are doing well and I'll post more and share more video in the near future.   

I'm now a follower :)

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That model is also fitted for observations, which means failure of the instruments can compromise its max wind/gust estimates.

Regardless of that, once again, it is common in observations that peak gusts over land match peak sustained over the water (130 is borderline between Cat 3 and 4, 110-120 is Cat 3), which in this case validates exactly what you are scoffing at.

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That model is also fitted for observations, which means failure of the instruments can compromise its max wind/gust estimates. Regardless of that, once again, it is common in observations that peak gusts over land match peak sustained over the water (130 is borderline between Cat 3 and 4, 110-120 is Cat 3), which in this case validates exactly what you are scoffing at.

Additonally, task anyone with finding more comprehensive support of a stronger inland hurricane. I have read plenty of papers by Powell, Vickery, Kaplan, Reinhold, etc., on post-tropical landfalls. They won't. That OBS data is already amazing in its own right. I don't recall ever seeing inland wind gust velocities that high and that far inland in a preliminary report. But we need to comprehend the nature of those readings with regards to inland cyclone intensity.

 

We need to understand that inland wind measurements are never going to be the same as over water, period. Frictional influences over land cause surface airflow velocities to be gustier. Energy transport becomes 20-30% less efficient even without the hurricane actually weakening above the 850 mb level. Airflow becomes less smooth/horizontal with greater vertical deviations due the influences of frictional drag. Simply put, the hurricane may be still be a Category 4, but surface airflow is rarely ever going to sustain wind speeds beyond 1-minute measurement like it would over open water or the immediate shoreline. It's only ever going to be represented in much shorter wind gusts.

 

This is why the NHC will not drop a category over land based soley on sustained wind obs alone. They will continue using a mixture of remote sensing, radar velocities and maximum reported gusts. They are issuing a forecast with every advisory they make to inform people on the ground. The idea here is FORECAST until the NEXT advisory the highest maximum winds POSSIBLE. It would be highly irresponsible for them to forecast based on realtime inland station OBS alone, especially when it takes luck to ever have a station located perfectly where the highest winds might actually be occurring, much more the complications of instrument malfunction and failure.

 

Edit: Here is a good article by Bob Henson about this very phenomenon:

 

https://www.wunderground.com/cat6/hurricane-winds-landfall-why-it-they-seem-fall-short

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On 10/14/2018 at 5:20 AM, Hurricane Agnes said:

Many of those Mexico Beach houses/condo complexes were seasonal/vacation rentals and their big "season" tends to be in winter. If you do a Google Street View up and down the streets you will see all kinds of signs in front of the complexes hawking "vacation rentals". The "municipality" itself has a population of about 1200 (according to census reports) so I doubt the housing there was 100% occupied with 50% staying behind.  You may have had some year-round residents who were back off the ocean a couple blocks who tried to stay (and may have holed up at one of the hotels) but I expect the larger casualty numbers may actually come from towns/cities like Panama City Beach (est. pop 12,800) and Panama City (est. pop. 37,600), where there were numerous pics showing several plots of land with trailer/RV parks filled with double-wides and campers, most of them flipped and/or tossed around.   You also had Port St. Joe and Beacon Hill along 98 that probably had similar situations with some year-round residents vs rentals/vacation homes.

Compare and contrast any google maps views with this storm-specific super-res airborne digital imagery.  It's acquired by the NOAA Remote Sensing Division post storm in support of homeland security and emergency response activities:

https://storms.ngs.noaa.gov/storms/michael/index.html?utm_source=CNN+Hurricane+Alerts&utm_campaign=5e492aef37-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2018_10_12_05_17&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_df10854834-5e492aef37-95699293#17/29.95111/-85.42351

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2 hours ago, andyhb said:

That model is also fitted for observations, which means failure of the instruments can compromise its max wind/gust estimates.

Regardless of that, once again, it is common in observations that peak gusts over land match peak sustained over the water (130 is borderline between Cat 3 and 4, 110-120 is Cat 3), which in this case validates exactly what you are scoffing at.

That's a lot of words to just say that "You are right, sustained winds were not cat 4 strength at I-10."

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