Post-mortem upgrade: Hurricane Michael now Category 5 storm

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Bela (L) and Jaques Sebastiao begin the process of cleaning up their home after after it was heavily damaged by Hurricane Michael, on October 17, 2018 in Mexico Beach, Florida.(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

MIAMI - Weather forecasters have posthumously upgraded last fall's Hurricane Michael from a Category 4 storm to a Category 5.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced the storm's upgraded status Friday, making Michael only the fourth hurricane on record to hit the U.S. as a Category 5.

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NOAA says National Hurricane Center scientists conducted a detailed post-storm analysis for Hurricane Michael, which made landfall near Mexico Beach, Florida, on Oct. 10, 2018. They've determined the storm's estimated intensity at landfall was actually 5 mph faster than last year's estimate, putting the storm just barely over the 157 mph threshold.

NOAA says the change is of little practical significance. Both categories are considered catastrophic. Michael was directly responsible for 16 U.S. deaths and about $25 billion in damage.
 

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