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WEATHER

What was the strongest hurricane ever recorded? Where and when was it?

Category 5 is the highest-level for hurricanes on the Saffir-Simpson scale. Since 1924 there have been only 40 in the Atlantic to reach such fury.

Update:
The strongest hurricanes ever recorded
JULIO CESAR CHAVEZREUTERS

Since 1924 there have been 40 Category 5 hurricanes in the Atlantic Basin, including the most recent, Hurricane Lee. As of publication, Lee has now weakened to Category 3 but there is the possibility it could ratchet up again as it approaches the East Coast.

Category 5 is the highest level on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale, which measures the intensity of tropical cyclones. Where a hurricane falls within the scale, going from 1, the weakest, to 5, the most powerful, is determined by sustain wind speed in the tempest. A storm becomes a Category 5, or ‘catastrophic’, when it sustains winds of at least 157 miles per hour and there is no upward limit.

Of the 40 Category 5 hurricanes that have formed in the Atlantic Basin, only four have made landfall while still packing winds above 157 miles per hour. Other destructive hurricanes have landed with winds just shy of that level. The bulk of these storms form during September, the peak of the Atlantic Basin hurricane season.

What was the strongest hurricane ever recorded to hit the US?

The strongest recorded hurricane to make landfall in the United States was the 1935 Labor Day Hurricane. On 2 September, it slammed into the Florida Keys with winds of 185 miles per hour, at times it had wind gusts over 200 miles per hour. The islands were completely inundated by 15 to 20 feet of storm surge.

Two other storms, Camille in 1969 and Michael 2018 also landed on the Gulf Coast as Category 5 hurricanes. Each had sustained wind speeds of 170 mile per hour and 161 miles per hour respectively. Hurricane Andrew in 1992 made landfall in South Miami-Dade County packing winds of 165 miles per hour.

What was the strongest hurricane ever recorded? Where and when was it?

While people in the United States are more familiar with hurricanes that come out of the Atlantic Basin, tropical cyclones can form in both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres in all the world’s oceans if three conditions come together. The strongest hurricane ever recorded worldwide was in the Eastern Pacific in 2015. Hurricane Patricia had the strongest sustained wind speeds clocking in at 215 miles per hour. It reduced to a Category 4 before slamming into the western coast of Mexico with 150 mile per hour winds.