(WMC) - Hurricane Irma reached category 5 strength Tuesday morning with 180 mph winds and by the afternoon, wind speeds had increased to 185 mph, putting it in the top five strongest Atlantic storms ever recorded. Philip Klotzbach, meteorologist and research scientist specializing in Atlantic basin storms at the University of Colorado, put together some notable facts about this potent storm.
- 185 mph max winds – tied with Florida Keys (1935), Gilbert (1988) and Wilma (2005) for second strongest max winds of all time in Atlantic hurricane. Allen had max winds of 190 mph in 1980
- 185 mph max winds – making it the strongest storm on record to impact the Leeward Islands, defined as 15-19°N, 65-60°W for this calculation. Okeechobee Hurricane (1928) and David (1979) were previous strongest at 160 mph
- 185 mph max winds – the strongest storm to exist outside of the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico on record
- 916 mb central pressure – lowest since Dean (2007) and tied for 11th lowest in satellite era (since 1966)
- First Category 5 hurricane in the Atlantic since Matthew (2016) and first Category 5 hurricane in the tropical Atlantic (7.5-20°N, 60-20°W) since Hugo (1989)
- Generated the most Accumulated Cyclone Energy by a tropical cyclone on record in the tropical Atlantic (7.5-20°N, 60-20°W)
- Generated more Accumulated Cyclone Energy than the first eight named storms of the Atlantic hurricane season (Arlene-Harvey) combined
- Generated 3.75 major hurricane days in the tropical Atlantic (7.5-20°N, 60-20°W) – trailing only Luis (1995) for major hurricane days in the tropical Atlantic
We continue to track this storm as it continues to move west on a track that will likely impact the U.S. coast and much of Florida and will bring you frequent updates on air, on line, and on the First Alert Weather app.